Simi Mehta, Anshula Mehta, Nishi Verma
Dr Anjal Prakash, Research Director and Adjunct Associate Professor, Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, highlighted the scientific communities’ perspective in the webinar. He was speaking during the panel discussion on ‘Uttrakhand Flood Disaster 2.0: From Analysis to Action, organized by Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD), IMPRI Impact Policy And Research Institute, New Delhi, India Water Portal, and Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar.
He shared the findings from three studies: Firstly, a project which studied the glacier to river basins of Indo-Ganges and Brahmaputra. It examined the impact of climate change on these rivers’ water regimes. Second, IPCC 2019 Special report on oceans and cryosphere. Lastly, the Highmount report including an assessment of the Himalayas in eight countries, starting from Afghanistan to Myanmar.
Highlighting the effect of anthropogenic activities on the social and physical strata, he shared the following findings
- Climatic Link to Disasters
There is a robust climatic link to disasters. Normal global warming is 1 degree since the pre-industrial age in plains. However, the temperature increase in the elevation regions. For instance, if global warming is 1.5 degrees, then the Himalayan region would face 1.8 to 2.2 degrees. The recent disaster is attributed to global warming as well.
- Glacial Monitoring and Strong Information System
Out of the thousands of glaciers present in Uttarakhand, only a few are monitored in disaster response and subsequent action. This is complemented with the weak information system of glacier monitoring. There needs a strengthening of information sharing between the monitoring station upstream and downstream.
- Development of Basic Infrastructure
With the access to basic resources like water, sanitation, roads, etc., being relatively low, some infrastructure and development projects are therefore required. Still, those which directly affect the ecology of the place should be checked and regulated.
The basic rights of people should be differentiated from the developmental projects – Dr Prakash
He further dwelled that masculine development projects have only extracted from nature and its elements as much as they can. Thus, more feminity is required in the decision-making process. A fair proportion is desirable for women in central roles. Women have the biggest role in the livelihood system of rural Himalayas but the lack of adequate presence in the administration hinders the development.
Highlighting the best practices from India’s neighbouring countries – Nepal and Bhutan, he says, decision-making process for building dams and other commercial activities in the mountainous regions involve strict monitoring from the highest governor. They assure citizens and the locals of minimal environmental impact.