Black and White: Carbon

Posted on | maart 27, 2011 | No Comments

For last few months the black carbon issue is being highlighted in Himalayan region, with a viewpoint that it will have adverse impact on human health, air quality and on various ecosystem functions. It is said that, there is sheer need of various local and international efforts to reduce the emissions and cope the situation.

In one of the regional consultation held in Nepal recently, it was mentioned that the scientific studies conducted under project Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC), found that black carbon will lead to climatic changes and adverse impact on human health, food and water security among others in Himalayan region. The study also considered South Asia among one of the hotspots for Black Carbon. The Black Carbon has been identified among major concern for the rapid melting of snow and ice and human health.

Given the scenario of Black Carbon, it was emphasized that there is the need of depth scientific understanding of the sources and role of this short-lived atmospheric pollutants. The need of depth understanding on Black Carbon science, building capacities in the region for monitoring the issues and implementation of mitigation measures were among the other highlights of the consultation.

The moot question here is that, are we equally concerned about various other scientific phenomena and socio-environmental processes in Himalayan region.

At first hand, this may be related to disasters in the region, when we lost thousands of people during last flood in Pakistan, India and China. There is scope that, we form a similar scientific committee that could try to understand the science behind such calamities. We can also emphasize that how the displaced families would be coping with the aftermath situation and how many of them still have health, agriculture, food and water related problems and what are the possible workable solutions.

This should be among our major concerns! And to avoid such situation in near future, we should host similar consultation in the region to secure the lives of people and develop a robust disaster preparedness plan!

Another concern could be swelling urban population and urban settlements in Himalayan region due to mass migration, which is taking place at an unprecedented rate! We must be concerned about the dramatic settlement transition in Himalayan region and factors leading to this situation.

We can have enough studies on this emerging issue and could seek cooperation projects to cope the situation.

The third important issue in my view is that; we must emphasize upon our outdated library management system in Himalayan region based research institutions and universities to make them more effective by piloting a few models. There should be emphasis on knowledge networking, which is very much needed for information sharing among the community for various decision-making processes.

The fourth issues is about the various extension wings in our research institutions in the region, those need to be revived at a level where the research project team start sharing the scientific findings for the benefit of the communities. Therefore, there should be a mechanism in place that ensures science is communicated effectively and in timely manner.

There are issues related to wise water management, livelihood opportunities, reducing mass migration, improving environmental impact assessment processes, effective networking and sharing knowledge on various scientific issues, promoting agriculture technologies, safe water and adequate sanitation, among others.

So that the coping mechanism of Black Carbon could become part of sustainable development process in black and white!

AUTHOR: K. N. Vajpai
E-MAIL: knvajpai [at]


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