Himalayas pollution dates back to Industrial revolution

Satellite based Himalayan-monitoring helps in better flood understanding


Even before men set foot on the Himalayas, Human beings are known to have polluted the tallest mountain peak. The Himalayas is said to have been polluted by the by-products of burning coal in Europe in the 18th and 19 century (during the time of Industrial revolution) and had travelled about 6400 miles and made their way to Dasuopu glacier in central Himalayas.

This has been revealed in a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was conducted by researchers of the Ohio State University, USA. It has been said that the several toxic metals were deposited in Dasuopu glacier since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Apart from this, massive biomass burning and deforestation in Northern Hemisphere is also said to have resulted in the deposits. The study pointed out that wind patterns and atmospheric currents were responsible for depositing these metals in the Himalayas.

Glaciers are said to be natural repositories of atmospheric composition.

Dasuopu is situated at 23,000 feet above sea level on Shishapangma, one of the world’s 14 tallest mountains. The researchers obtained a climate record from an ice core from this place and toxic metals were found in it. They analysed the snow composition on Dasuopu during a 500-year period between 1499 and 1992. High levels of toxic metals such as cadmium, zinc, chromium and nickel from around 1780 was traced in the ice block. This period was the beginning of Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom.

It has been found that the metals might have transported by winter winds that travel from west to east. Apart from this, the presence of Zinc was also found to have been because of large-scale forest fires, including the fires of 1800s and 1900s for clearing trees to make way for farms.


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