The world is observed to be the victim of climate change. There is no doubt in calling climate change the significant crisis of our time. It has emerged to be a calamity in today’s world. Climate change is the observance of changes in the earth’s climate at global levels. It is the decline in the earth’s climatic conditions due to changes in the atmosphere. This climate change affects the temperature and the whole world at large because the entire system is connected. It involves climatic conditions and destroys the earth's biological, geographic, atmospheric, and geologic conditions. The severity of the climate change: warmer summers and colder winters, has been examined after the industrial revolution.
Factors causing climate change
The outburst of climate change in today’s world is the combined effect of natural and artificial factors. The outbreak of climate change after the industrial revolution has proved that it is majorly a result of human activities. Human activities from pollution, industrialization, and overpopulation are driving up the earth’s temperature. They are deteriorating the biodiversity in one way or the other, which is fundamentally causing climate change.
The leading cause behind climate change is the phenomenon known as global warming. It is the combined effort of pollution, overpopulation, biodiversity deterioration, and industrialization. These manufactured activities raise certain toxic gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and Chloro-fluoro carbons. These gases don’t let the radiations leave the atmosphere, Instead, they get trapped in the atmosphere, which increases the temperature. This increase in temperature is the leading cause of climate change. Climate change targets our food, health, habitat, and weather.
Effects of climate change
- A drastic increase in temperature is causing the ice sheets in Antarctica to melt, resulting in an evident rise in sea level. Rising sea levels lead to floods that can damage various ecosystems and landmarks.
- Climate change has made weather more extreme. This will lead not only to storms, floods, and heavy rainfall but also to more frequent droughts. This will affect food production and biodiversity in one way or the other.
- A sudden increase in climate change is also affecting human health. Due to industrial activity, the atmosphere is highly polluted with various toxic gases in urban areas. This polluted atmosphere is the main reason behind numerous life threating diseases such as lung cancer, heart diseases, and Asthma.
Hasan Abad Bridge Collapse
Gilgit-Baltistan-The land of mountains-being located in the heart of Karakorum, Himalayas, and Hindukush ranges has always remained the target of natural calamities. The outbreak of climate change has affected this region a lot. One of the consequences of climate change is seen every year in different areas of Gilgit: massive floods. These gigantic floods occur to happen because of the melting of glaciers. One such incident was observed in Hasan Abad valley, Hunza a couple of days ago.
A concrete bridge on the Karakorum highway located in Hunza’s Hasan Abad valley was collapsed by massive flooding. It was the only bridge that connected Hunza valley with Gilgit city. It is suspected that the heatwave in the glacial area has melted an enormous sum of the glacier that drained into rivers and surrounding areas. According to the local police, no causalities have been reported so far, but the glacier out-surge has washed away an estimate of six houses and hundred acres of land. According to the geo news report, drinking and agricultural water systems and two hydropower plants are also destroyed. Minister for foreign affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has shown significant concern over the sudden melting of glaciers. In his statement on the flood situation in Gilgit, he said that the problem created by the explosion of the lake on the Shisper Glacier needs to be resolved on an urgent basis to make sure that no harm is done to the local population and the land routes remain open.
Causes of flooding
This incident was not something out of the blues. Such incidents have been happening for the past few years after the outburst of climate change. Over the last few years, the Shishper glacier has been forming huge lakes due to the melting of glacier water. This usually happened in May when the locals were given the threat of the lake outburst, causing them to migrate to safer places. The flood typically lasted for two days, and then the flow normalized. However, this year, the Shishper glacier melted faster because of the heatwave experienced in the area. Usually, the glaciers melt in May, but a heatwave caused them to melt in April this year. According to the Remote Sensing Specialist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Dr. Sher Mohammad, the glacial lake size was 15% more than the recorded size for the last three years at the pre-outburst level of the lake. He further added that glacial lakes are rapidly forming due to the heatwave and bursting into floods before their usual time. Further research has disclosed that lakes on at least five glaciers emerged ahead of time in April, and some of them have erupted where the water was running faster than usual.
The crevasse in the glacier freezes in winter and stops the flow of water, which causes the lake to form. Its outburst occurred in May due to water flow in larger amounts from backside and melting of ice in the glacier crevasses. Only five glacial lakes have been recorded due to continuous clouds. There may be more than that.
The glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) in Gilgit-Baltistan caused enough damage. No death causalities are reported, but the flood washed away a massive sum of land and some households. Most importantly, it collapsed the only convenient roadway connection between Hunza and Gilgit city leading to a disturbance in the trade and tourism industry.
Keeping in consideration the consequences of bridge collapse, the local have made a temporary walk away bridge with the help of district administration and AKAH. The government has taken several steps to aid the people who have suffered damage. Federal climate change minister Sherry Rahman said the FWO would have a temporary bridge in 48 hours. Locals and tourists are using an alternative pathway that has been examined as highly dangerous. An accident of a tourist bus has been reported recently. Keeping in view the critical condition of the alternative road. The government has proposed several orders:
- The Prime minister has shown massive support to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by ordering the authorities to protect the lives and property of people. He moreover coordinated help groups to provide nourishment, medications, and crisis supplies to the influenced zones. The Prime minister has also asked officials to prepare an alternative route due to the bridge's collapse on the Karakoram Highway.
- The chairperson of the National Highway Authority promised the installation of the Hassan Abad bridge. The National Highway Authority claimed to restore the bridge within a week. It has already been five days but no progress has been observed there.
- According to the Hunza District deputy commissioner Usman Ali, the locals were warned about the flood outburst a day ago. The police were stationed to redirect the traffic and tourists. The internally displaced people have ensured to be given food and shelter shortly.
- The minister for foreign affairs, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has shown his primary concern for this issue. He stated that Gilgit-Baltistan would not be left alone by the PPP under challenging times. The government will ensure that ordinary people and tourists do not face any difficulties.
- Advisor to Prime Minister, Qamar Zaman Qaira on a media talk in Hunza vowed to mobilize all the resources to rehabilitate flood effected infrastructures in Hasan Abad, Hunza. The locals protested the NHA and FWO for not starting any progressive work in the Hasan Abad valley. While addressing the protesters, He assured the people affected by the calamity that the government would utilize all its resources to rehabilitate infrastructures and compensate losses. He also visited the effected area and met the effected people.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, where climate change is showing its significant outcomes, people are continuously under the threat of natural disasters. This region is the center of tourists attraction and the Pak-China corridor. This should be considered to protect it from the consequences of climate change. The government should take immediate action to overcome the effects of climate change. More laws should be passed to preserve the biodiversity to preserve the climate. If this rising outburst of climate change is not taken seriously, it will be highly disastrous.