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Environmental Problems

General Info

Man-made problems
 ·  Forest degradation
 ·  Overgrazing
 ·  Fires
 ·  Quarrying
 ·  Landslides
     Road construction

Natural Processes
 ·  Earthquakes
 ·  Glaciers
 ·  Avalanches
 ·  River and stream erosion

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Environmental problems

Mountaineering and trekking
In recent years, mountaineering and trekking have become increasingly popular as mountain sports. A large number of peaks for climbers and trails for trekkers have been opened up for such expeditions. These adventure expeditions provide a boost to the local socio-economy and help to popularize the sport. Often, they are a source of valuable foreign exchange for the governments. However, they do leave behind a host of environmental problems for the locality.

In the high snows... mountaineering and trekking have become very popular. Credit: KOA
In the high snows...
mountaineering and trekking have become very popular.

Credit: KOA

Tons of garbage and refuse tend to get left behind by adventure expeditions. This not only creates an eyesore but also pollutes the environment. The adventurers also draw upon the local vegetation for their energy needs and for fodder to feed the pack animals that may be accompanying them. Often the vegetative growth of the region may not be sufficient to support such a large number of animals. These large mountain expeditions also cause disturbance to the wild animals living in the areas frequented by such expeditions.

Road Construction
Construction of roads is very important for opening up remote areas of the Himalayas to the rest of the world. Especially in the last three decades, a tremendous road building endeavor has been undertaken. Today, an intricate network of roads criss- cross the Himalayas. But in spite of the vast benefits that road construction has, there are a number of environmental problems connected with this important activity.

Mountainsides are blasted using dynamite to create roads. Blasting, an important part of road construction, may not be advisable in many parts of the Himalayas for a variety of reasons. In many areas the slopes are unstable, and these weak slopes may be disturbed by the blasting. Moreover, blasting may lead to the reactivation of geological faults, which in turn cause landslides and rockslides, thereby endangering life and property.

The debris from the excavation of the mountains too causes environmental problems. The debris tends to cover forests and grasslands and damages the the regenerative vegetative growth that may be occurring in the region. The debris adds to the loads of the fast-flowing rivers and streams that may be flowing through the area. Finally, the debris damages agricultural fields and human settlements.

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