Stretching from Afghanistan to Myanmar, the Hindu Kush Himalayas contain the largest volume of ice outside the Arctic and Antarctica.

These mountains feed major rivers across Asia – from the Ganges to the Mekong – providing water for drinking, irrigation, and energy for about 2 billion people.

But this region, also known as Earth’s Third Pole, is warming three times faster than the global average.

Melting glaciers will bring a future of water stress, frequent hazards, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity.

Without urgent action, this will hit the region’s poorest and most vulnerable groups the hardest.
 

Transcript

Stretching from Afghanistan to Myanmar, the Hindu Kush Himalayas contain the largest volume of ice outside the Arctic and Antarctica.

These mountains feed major rivers across Asia – from the Ganges to the Mekong – providing water for drinking, irrigation, and energy for about 2 billion people.

But this region, also known as Earth’s Third Pole, is warming three times faster than the global average.

These glaciers could lose up to 75 percent of their volume by the end of this century.

The consequences are dire.

First, there will be too much water.

A catastrophic debris-flood in Nepal three years ago offers a glimpse of what is to come.

A major piece of infrastructure built to divert water to the Kathmandu Valley was destroyed, disrupting regular water supply during monsoon season, and threatening much-needed water security in the valley.

Across the region, roads, bridges, and dams are being destroyed by erratic rainfall and monsoons supercharged by climate change.

Eventually, glacial retreat will mean too little water.

This means less water for irrigation in a region that produces about a third of the world’s rice and a quarter of its wheat, leading to more water stress and groundwater depletion.

Dwindling river flow will curtail water supply and sanitation systems in a part of the world where more than a billion people already lack access to basic sanitation.

And communities or even entire industries may need to migrate in search of freshwater and new livelihoods.

Melting glaciers will bring a future of water stress, frequent hazards, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity.

Without urgent action, this will hit the region’s poorest and most vulnerable groups the hardest.
 

SHARE THIS PAGE