Scientists and environmental activists have been warning that Global Warming is posing a serious threat to life on planet Earth. The harmful impact of climate change can be gauged from the growing number of natural disasters like flash-floods, landslides, hurricanes etc. around the world that has resulted in loss of lives and properties. The glaciers are melting in the polar ice caps resulting in rising of sea levels. Scientists predict that in a couple of decades some of the island nations would lie inundated beneath sea water.
Everest Region- White snowy peaks transformed into rocky bare pinnacles
The scenario is no less frightening in the Himalayas. Flanked by some of the tallest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest, Nepal’s snowy pinnacles are losing their snow cover. The glaciers are melting, creating mountain lakes that threaten to sweep away villages situated at the base of the mountains. According to a report on BBC, there are 3,250 glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas, and 2,315 of them contain glacial lakes that are increasing in size at varying rates. The disappearance of glaciers also mean that the rivers fed by the glaciers may run dry in the near future.
To bring into focus how Global Warming is adversely affecting our mountains and glaciers the, Nepal Government decided to hold a cabinet meeting at the Everest Base Camp.
Ten years before, this place used to covered with snow year round, according to locals – An impact of global warming on our Mountain Environment
Press Conference at NTB, Kathmandu
At a press conference held on 29th November at NTB’s auditorium hall, members of the press and media were briefed about the climate themed Cabinet Meeting to be held in Gorakh Shep, Everest Base Camp on 4th December 2009. The special climate- themed meeting was scheduled ahead of the UN summit on Climate Change at Copenhagen. Attended by members of the press & media, tourism officials, Everest summitteers and mountaineers, the main speakers during the conference were Minister of Tourism – Mr. Sarat Singh Bhandari, Minister of Forests – Mr. Deepak Bohara, Minister of Environment Mr. Thakur Prasad Sharma and Planning & Operation Coordinator of the event, Mr. Suman Pandey ( President, Explore Himalaya).
Answering to press queries honorable Minister of Forests, Mr. Deepak Bohara said that the entire cost of the highest Cabinet Meeting will be borne by private sector companies.
R-L : Deepak Bohara (Minister of Forests), Mr. Sarat Singh Bhandari (Tourism Minister), Mr.Suman Pandey (Planning & Operation Coordinator)
Mr. Suman Pandey – Outlining the programme schedule for the Highest Cabinet Meeting
Reports on the Preparation for the Event
World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting,EBC- Kala Patthar (17,192 ft/5242m) – 4th December, 2009
Nepalese cabinet ministers held a special cabinet meeting at Kala Patthar (17,192 ft/5242m) plateau, at the base of Mt. Everest on December 4, 2009. Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and 23 other ministers were flown by helicopters for the meeting. During the meeting, a 10-point ‘Everest Declaration’ which calls for concerted actions to minimize adverse effects of climate change in the Himalayan region was released. The meeting, which had cost around NRS 6 million to organize, was funded by private agencies and organizations from the tourism sector. Mr. Suman Pandey, Planning & Operation Coordinator of the event, said that organizing the meeting at such a high altitude was a big achievement.
World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting in progress – At Kala Patthar Plateau (17,192 ft/5242m)
PM Madhav Kumar Nepal wearing an oxygen mask
This meeting received worldwide media coverage and it showed the commitment of the Nepalese Government towards Climate Change and the mountain environment. This event gained an estimated 1.7 million media coverage!
Summiteers Summit to Save the Himalayas, Copenhagen- December 11 2009
Following the World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting, Summiteers Summit to Save the Himalayas was organized by the Government of Nepal in Copenhagen to mark the International Mountain Day on December 11, 2009. Summiteers from Nepal and around the globe, in full summit gear, marched on the streets of Copenhagen. The march was organized to celebrate the ‘International Mountain Day’ as well as to draw global attention to the impact of climate change in the Himalayas. Five ministers from Nepal and the Danish foreign minister participated at the march.This rally was an accompanying event in the 15th session of UNFCCC conference.
Since then , there have been joint efforts from individuals and organizations to highlight the impact of climate change on the Himalayan mountains.
Are our mountains turning into garbage dump sites? This is the question many of us may ask if we see the garbage littering our beautiful and rugged mountains. Looking at the pictures below,taken at Mount Everest, we can make out how climbers, in their race to conquer the mountain, leave behind ugly reminders of their sojourn ; unsightly wastes, defacing the mountain sides.
These pictures were taken by our climbing guide Namgyal Sherpa, who acted as the project director for ‘Extreme Everest Expedition 2010’ that was organized on Spring 2010 to clean up Mt Everest. The team comprising of 31 members , included 11 porters and 20 mountaineers.They collected around 1,500 kilograms of garbage. Debris collected included oxygen canisters, food containers, discarded tents, ropes and backpacks – all of which was put on display in an exhibition at Everest base camp.
The team also brought back the body of a Swiss climber who died on the mountain in 2008.
Photos: Namgyal Sherpa
A team of 20 Nepalese government employees, including a woman, is preparing to climb Mt Everest next spring.The team members have recieved training in mountaineering at Pasang Lhamu Mountaineering Federation and Nagarjun. To prepare themselves for the big climb, the team left for Rasuwa district in the third week of June to climb Yala Peak (5,550m). The team is led by Mr. Leelamani Poudyal, Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office.
The government has exempted permit fee for the expedition and is also bearing all expenses of the expedition.
Following 13 year old Jordon Romero’s ascent to Mount Everest from Tibet side, Chinese officials have decided to impose age limits for mountaineers wishing to scale peaks in Tibet from the next climbing season. Though Chinese officials have not made public the age limit , but according to sources, restrictions may apply to climbers below 18 and above 60 years of age. Currently China has no age restrictions for climbers.
Apa Sherpa summitted Mt.Everest for the 20th time in the early hours of 22nd May 2010.Climbing with the team of Eco Everest Expedition 2010, Apa’s mission has been to raise awareness about the adverse effects of climate change and to campaign for better educational facilities in Khumbu region. Apa’s first Everest summit was in the year 1990.He remains the only climber in the world with the maximum number of Everest summits.