Global warming has caused a number of effects on the Himalayan mountain range, such as retreating glaciers and warming temperatures, but the region’s Sherpas have said they are angry with issues detailed in recent studies. The sherpas state that these studies are alarmist and that the real problems are not being suitably addressed.
An article by BBC News has said that the Himalayan Sherpas are outraged that issues such as glacial lake outbursts are not being addressed, and the negligence has caused multiple deaths amongst locals. While environmental organizations have said that they have always worked with the local community, Sherpa leaders have stated that they will not allow any new studies in the region if their concerns are not taken into account.
Speaking to BBC Environmental reporter Navin Singh Khadka, Ang Chhiri Sherpa, chairman of an association of tourism entrepreneurs in Pangboche and Dingboche village said, “We have made this clear to a few international organizations that came here recently for further studies.”
Ang Chhiri cited that several glaciers in the region have retreated so much, that the melt has been produced large glacial lakes, many of which are dangerously full and prone to overflow. As such, several Sherpa villages have been hit by glacial lakes bursting their banks, resulting in destroyed bridges, power stations and lives lost.
“Everytime we begin to forget about the threats from glacial lake outburst, then comes news of yet another study through the radio and television, and this has been happening over and over again for more than 15 years now,” said Chhiri. “Instead of having to fear death like that again and again, we would rather die once if the lake really bursts out one day.”
The constant threat of glacial lake overflow, especially around Imja Lake, has led to several false alarms where people have had to evacuate villages in the middle of the night. It has gotten to the point where the assorted environmental teams are now becoming a burden to the local community. Chairman of the Everest region’s Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council (KACC), Ang Nima Sherpa, added that he main problem was that members of the Sherpa community were not included during field studies.
“Once, we asked them to take one of our lamas to perform the ritual and worshipping before they could begin their field studies around Imja lake,” he said. “But they refused to do so and then they could not even light incense sticks when they tried to do the worshipping themselves, and eventually one of their senior researchers fell ill and died.”
It seems the situation has grown so bad that there is now a prominent rift between those researching the glacial retreats and those having to live with the effects. It seems unless the two begin to work together, both will suffer as a result.