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Impact of Climate Change on Health and Adaptation Strategies in Mountainous Areas of Kashmir Prof. Rais Akhtar PowerPoint Presentation
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Impact of Climate Change on Health and Adaptation Strategies in Mountainous Areas of Kashmir

Prof. Rais Akhtar

  • Kashmir Mountainous region is known for its amazing beauty. Its beautiful Dal Lake and Gulmarg and Pahalgam tourist spots, is blessed with rich terrestrial and aquatic biological wealth of years, changing environmental conditions, mostly of anthropogenic origin, have increasingly threatened the existence of biodiversity of various habitats.
  • The relatively hospitable mountain regions are under pressure from human settlement-use of cement and iron in the construction of buildings and commercial cultivation have led to degradation and adverse effects on water supply Human Encroachment in mountain regions has reduced vegetation cover, which has increased soil moisture evaporation, erosion, and siltation with adverse effects on water quality and other resources
Lost Season in Kashmir:-
  • The most discernible impact of the climate changes in the Kashmir has been felt in the change of seasons.
  • For more than a decade now Kashmir has not experienced a 20-30 days long season called TSONTH- a situation that occurred for centuries between the end of snow winter and spring.
  • Tsonth was essentially a rainy season that started roughly from 1st march and ends in the first week of April (torrential rains, followed by bright sun shine, melted away the icicles and heaps of snow produced lot of slush on ground. The days were cold but pleasant
Kashmir Temperature Rise:

Mean Monthly Max. and Min. Temperature

Max. C Min. C


Srinagar 30.8 July -2.5 January

Jammu 40.9 June 8.3 January


Srinagar 32.4 July -5.4 January.

Jammu 41.7 June 6.3 January.

Use of Cement and Iron during (1973-74 and 1996-97 in Jammu & Kashmir.

1973-74 1996-97

Cement (000quintals) 949.0 4564.2

Iron (000 quintals) 699.0 1143.0

  • It has rightly been said “the effects of climate change experienced to be greatest in the developing world especially in countries reliant on primary production as a major source of income”.(IPCC WG II)
  • Adaptative capacity of human system in Kashmir is low due to lack of economic resources and technology Vulnerability is high due to heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture, imported food items, frequent droughts, floods and poverty (especially in rural areas); the urban areas of Kashmir are more likely to adapt.
  • Adaptation suggests that humans are either unwilling or unable to collectively change their behaviour to a sufficient level to mitigate stress due to human –induced climate change, and that resources should be focused on “hardening” the impacted system so that they might better be able to withstand the increased stress due to climate change. Successful adaptation requires:
  • Technological advances
Institutional arrangements.
  • Availability of financing
  • Exchange of information
  • The efficient and effectiveness of adaptation strategies will depend on the availability of financial resources, technology transfer and cultural, educational, managerial, institutional, legal and regulatory practices, both domestic and international.
  • Some system and geographic locations have better adaptive capacity than others. The vulnerability to change increases as the adaptive capacity decreases. The level of economic and institutional resources in a community or region influences the capability for adaptation. Less developed countries, more likely to be lacking such resources, are more vulnerable to negative impacts of climate change.

Source: Assessment of impacts of climate change, E.S.Takle.

Increased Temperature:
  • Early melting of snow during warm winter period when much water is not required. No water conservation facility.
  • Drought during summer.
  • Impact on agriculture
  • Contaminated water.
  • Decline in respiratory diseases.
  • Decline in the use of kangri.
1. Water
  • Glacier will melt, Glofs cause flash floods. A decrease in water supplies in some regions. More landslides and infrastructure damage. Severel droughts in some regions

2. Agriculture

  • Higher carbon dioxide levels and water temperature may increase grain yield in some regions.
  • Rice yielding may decline.
  • Warmer water will threaten fish farms
  • Irregular monsoon pattern will delay rice planting.
4. Health:
  • Health related illness as well as Cholera
  • Water borne diseases will increase
  • Malaria may increase.

5. Adaptation:

  • Migration and resettlement.
  • Community based disaster preparedness land use/ farming practices will change
  • Cropping pattern will change
  • Early warning system for disaster forecasting.

Source: Based on climate change , land, use transition and human health in the Himalayas, on ICIMOD perspective by M. Eriksson and Jiachu xu.

Climate Variability:
  • Increased Temperature
  • Adaptation Strategies (Individual level)
  • Primary Prevention: Changing health behavior
    • Drinking water frequently
    • Use of electronic fans/air conditioners.
    • Housing design changing
    • Cross ventilation
    • Large windows
    • Use of bed net increased
    • Use of insecticides increased.
    • Water storage capacity increased.
    • Use of electric blankets
    • Insalation of the house.
    • Decline in Kangri use
    • Decline in HAMMAM provision
Adaptation Strategies (Community level)
  • Spending time in gardens (particularly during weekends)
  • Shift of kitchen on the first floor of the house
  • Tube wells being installed
  • Increased availability.
  • Consumption of soft drinks etc.

Adaptation Strategies (Government level)

  • Change in office working hours.
  • Strengthening water supply
  • Strengthening health care infrastructure

Government Measures

Secondary Prevention

  • Disease surveillance (very poor)
Tertiary Prevention
  • Health care measures (Grossly inadequate and inequalities persists)
  • Incidence of Disease (First and Second Ranking 2000-01)

Name of the District:

  • Srinagar (Mountainous)
  • First Rank - Acute Respiratory infection - 1,98,820
  • Second Rank- Acute Diarrhoeal disease - 57765
  • Kathua(Plains)
  • First Rank - Viral fever - 46,027
  • Second Rank - Acute Diarrhoeal - 38,050

Adaptation Policy Framework (APF):

At a more operational level, there are at least five important objectives:

Increasing the robustness of infrastructure design and long-term investments;

Increasing the flexibility and resilience of managed natural systems and social systems;

Enhancing the adaptation of vulnerable natural system;

Reversing trends that increase vulnerability (also termed maladaptation); and

Improving social awareness and preparedness for future climate change.

More emphasis should be placed on No. 1 and 5.

Source: - Adaptation Policy Framework: Final Draft