The Business Times

Sustaining the Himalayas

Everyone should be mindful of the mountains and the important, though often overlooked, role they play in all of our lives.

Published Wed, Dec 10, 2014 · 09:50 PM
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EACH autumn, Kathmandu airport bustles with thousands of tourists from around the world, waiting to experience the adventure of a lifetime, searching for a spiritual retreat from their hectic lives, or simply hoping to catch a glimpse of the mighty Himalayas. Few are disappointed.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region covers the Hindu Kush mountains in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Karakoram in Pakistan, the great Himalayan arc stretching across India, Nepal, Bhutan clear to Myanmar and the downstream areas in Bangladesh, and the Tibetan Plateau in China and other countries. These mountains are a gift to Asia, and to the world.

The Hindu Kush Himalayas are the source of 10 rivers that supply vital water resources to more than 1.3 billion people. These rivers not only provide fresh water to the region, they also feed the demands of a growing Asian population for energy and food. Food connects more than one-third of the global population to the Himalayas, with the agricultural output of the breadbaskets of Asia - the downstream plains of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yellow and Yangtze rivers - feeding more than three billion people. Sustainably tapping the region's huge hydropower potential as a source of clean energy will also be increasingly important to fuel growing economies.

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