The Environmental Crisis in Tibet

 Tibet is popularly known as the Third Pole of the world. It is also listed as the top third country in the world that holds the largest source of water ice. Over 1.5 billion people across the continent of Asia rely on Tibet for their source of water since the largest rivers in Asia such as the Brahmaputra, the Ganges, the Mekong and the Yangtze all flow from Tibet. The growth and severity of the Climate crisis in Tibet has however made the region susceptible to great loss. The phenomenon of the melting of the Tibetan glacier is worrying and troublesome for all the regions that depend on Tibet as their ultimate source of water. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) published a report in which they made the prediction that at least a third of the region will melt due to climate crisis and this issue will remain so or get worse if the carbon emission is not monitored or lessened drastically. The global warming issue shares concern about the world heating up at a rapid rate which would obviously mean that the glaciers would melt and even go extinct soon. 

Tibetans inside Tibet have protested and are fighting endlessly for their rights and also for the Communist party to stop exploiting Tibet’s environment and abundant natural resources. China ever since its illegal occupation has caused unimaginable damage to Tibet’s resources and used it all for their economic growth. Tibetans believe in preserving their environment but that has not been possible since China’s entry. Mass Hunting began early on in the land and the Chinese government also encouraged large scale illegal poaching across Tibet. Tibet’s forest cover dropped immensely due to excessive deforestation by state logging enterprises. The rate at which this happened even led to flood in many regions. Tibet, being the home to many natural resources also had to face issues of excessive mining. This was done to boost the businesses but this not only destroyed the land and its quality, lessened the quantity of natural resources but also led to toxic waste from the industries being released in the rivers which ended up in major pollution issues.

A news piece published by Radio Free Asia (RFA) in 2020 has the statement of a Tibetan man named Gyaltsen who said, “Tibet as the Roof of the World used to have a pristine environment, with hardly any problems with air and water. (But) the Chinese have

excessively exploited Tibetan natural resources, and this has created issues with air and water pollution, and many animal species are now extint.” Tibet was never a land as polluted as it is now. China claims to always be the savior of Tibet and makes grand statements regarding how they want to help liberate Tibet and to give the Tibetan people a better life. All they have done up until now is rob the Tibetans off the right to live their lives as per their choices and lifestyles and also forced them into menial jobs with lesser opportunities. Tibetans were once also known popularly for their nomadic lifestyle but now the number has gone down since China’s forced resettlement of nomads. The nomads being completely unaware of the different lifestyle face serious troubles to build a new lifestyle and to make their livelihoods.

The numerous hydro projects led by the Chinese officials have also resulted in Tibetans being relocated without proper compensation and in them losing their houses and land. The never ending hydro projects built on the precious rivers has also ruined the quality of the river water causing much trouble for Tibetans inside Tibet and to those other nations who rely on Tibet for their source of water. The damages done to Tibet’s environment along with the inflictions caused upon the Tibetans has increased over the years and made lives hard for the original habitants of the land. Recent news came out from Tibet that the Chinese government is set again to build another major hydropower station causing the residents of the Tibetan village in northwestern China’s Qinghai province into forcibly being removed from their homes to make way for the project. Monks from a nearby monastery apparently petitioned Chinese officials to rescind the order but the Chinese local officials are still hell bent upon warning Tibetans to relocate regales of cost. 

It is indeed sad since Tibetans are helpless when the Chinese Communist Party lays such projects and they have particularly no say in it or the rights to even question it or ask for proper compensation. Tibetans are easily forced to follow the orders of the Chinese authorities and the denial would lead to many being imprisoned or tortured. There is no easy way out for the Tibetans in any case other than to imply with the communist government’s ways of working. The environmental crisis in Tibet however isn’t over and the initiation of such projects would only affect the environment further. China has succeeded in ruining the land and beauty of Tibet. The climate crisis is not being taken seriously by China since the carbon emission hasn’t been reduced or the plans of any such project that would harm the land is being carried out without the slightest consideration. If the climate crisis in Tibet doesn’t get better over time then it will result in great losses and damages throughout Asia. It would be safe to say that it is time for the other nations to speak up against such atrocity and to secure the future of their nations and their people. The death of Tibet’s environment would lead to dire consequences.

News Desk

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