Weather turns foul

That global warming and climate change is for real and this can be gleaned through the recent meteorological readings. The Kathmandu valley being under what is referred to as Asian Brown Cloud (ABC) does reflect a radical shift in the usually clear weather that prevails during this time of the year. It is also in knowledge that it has been the longest duration since rains last fell in October. Now, both the weathermen and the health experts are issuing their own specific warnings to the public. They have been supported by the fact that wildfires have been raging at many places in the country, especially in and around the various national parks and reserves. The pollution caused by the wildfires has the capacity to disturb the whole climatic pattern in the sense that it leads to blocking the sun’s rays and trapping the green house gases on the surface of the earth, which is not conducive to the well-being of the living things. Moreover, the decrease by 15 per cent of the solar radiation to the capital surface because of the ABC speaks of the magnitude of the problem. Human attempts to contain such a big phenomenon seems futile.

The wildfires not only lead to greater air pollution, thereby, posing a health hazard but also sees more forest areas destroyed that can have negative implications on the ecology. There are reports of people already complaining of breathing and vision problems. Wildfires on smaller scales are reported every year, but they are limited so the national implications are not alarming. But, this time around, the dry air coupled with strong winds have increased the sphere of destruction of the wildfires. This has added to the health problems of many people and also the possibility of a major reduction in agricultural output. In this context, 37 domestic flights were cancelled on Sunday citing poor visibility. This also goes to show the multi-faceted problems that the unfavourable weather has created.

Nepal is already facing many problems with its economy and the delivery of services to the people. The global recession, too, seems to have arrived at the threshold to affect the projected economic growth rate and the welfare of the people. Industrial activities have almost hit rock bottom, and agriculture too is predicted to suffer. This means that the overall economic scenario in the coming months

will be bleak. It is man’s greed and overexploitation

of nature that has brought this discouraging

predicament. The developed countries are more to be blamed for the present situation. Despite the calls for conserving nature, the advanced nations seem to have done very little, and the greatest fallout of negative consequences has been on poor, least developed countries. A global attempt in earnest is required to scale down the green house gas emissions that are slowly ushering in irreversible damages to the environment and the ecology. For its part, a country like Nepal, constrained with its own immediate economic and political problems, has to come up with viable plans and programmes to conserve its natural resources without which sustainable life of the people would itself be endangered.