New Delhi: As many as 27 metric tonnes of ice and snow melt in the Himalayas had been prevented by the Indian national lockdown, in place from March 25, 2020, to May 31, 2020, according to a new study. Diminished anthropogenic pollutant emissions during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns reduced snowmelt in the Himalayas, the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Nexus said. Liqiang Zhang from Beijing Normal University, China, and colleagues explored how the sudden, dramatic reduction in particulate pollution in the region affected snow and ice melt, using multiple satellite data as well as a coupled atmosphere-chemistry-snow model.
The authors estimate that the reduced anthropogenic pollutant emissions during the Indian lockdown was responsible for 71.6 per cent of the reduction in radiative forcing on snow in April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
This reduction in radiative forcing may have prevented 27 MT in ice and snow melt.
The results emphasised the power of reducing anthropogenic pollutant emissions when combating snow and ice melt, according to the authors.
Snow and ice on the Tibetan plateau act as a water source for over 20 per cent of the global population. However, ice and snow in the Himalayas have been melting at an accelerating rate in recent decades.
While much of this melting is attributable to climate change, air pollution also plays a role, because dark particles of dust and soot that fall on frozen surfaces absorb solar energy and melt the nearby snow and ice, the authors said.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.