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Environmental Problems

General Info

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

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

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Environmental problems

General info
Hard as it may sound to those overcome by the sheer magnificence of this mountain chain, the majestic Himalayas are surprisingly vulnerable to both natural processes and man-made ones. The mountain chain is young and, as has been proved in recent years, it is still geologically active. The Indian landmass continues to move towards the Eurasian landmass as a result of which the Himalayas rise by a few millimeters every year. Due to this, the Himalayas are still structurally unstable.

Orchids of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Credit : Karamjeet Singh
Orchids of
Arunachal Pradesh, India

Credit: Karamjeet Singh
The Himalayas also feature a fragile ecosystem. For centuries, this ecosystem has remained delicately balanced, and has been responsible for the tremendous biodiversity of the Himalayas. Only in recent years has the ecosystem been disturbed in various parts due to processes both man-made and natural.

Man has also been responsible to a large extent for some of the environmental problems faced by the mountains. As he strives for industrialization, modernization and the so-called higher standard of living, man has disturbed the natural ecosystems of many parts of the world. The Himalayas have been no exception. Over the centuries, pilgrims and explorers have visited the mountains. However, in the past their numbers were few and the Himalayan ecosystem, fragile as it is, was able to cope with the effects of human exploration in the areas. But today, the story is different. In the last few decades, an intricate network of roads have been built into the mountains, which have made some of the most remote areas more easily accessible. This has translated into a tremendous increase in the numbers of people who visit the mountains every year. The Himalayas are now being exploited, to the hilt in many areas, to provide materials for the growing number of forest-based industries. Thus, it is not a surprise that environmental problems have emerged in the Himalayan region.

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