Monday, 25 June 2018

Mt. Everest- Heavy metal concentration in the snow ?

Mt Everest, trash galore!In Deference to my Idols - Blogger
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With the growth of population, ever-increasing modern industries and the man's demand to meet his day to day's requirements in the areas of food, clothing, construction industries, oil and gas, etc., no place on earth is free from some kind of pollution and in some places the impact is busting at seams. All  five elements of the earth - Pancha Bootha are not free from pollution. Being self-centered man's exploitation of natural resources   has reached a level far beyond our imagination. In the wake of such high pollution  around us at stake is our health  as well as that of future generation. It all boils down to one thing - the survival of human race in the next several decades will be beset with many unsavory problems. Already, the human race is bogged down by nuclear proliferation, threats of nuclear war, disposal of waste radioactive materials, etc.  The reality is we are taking over advantage of our bountiful earth and its resource,  so the future seems to be ominous.
Mt. Everest. phys.org
What is surprising is  scientists have reported  that both the snow and soil on Mount Everest now contain dangerous levels of arsenic and cadmium. As you may be aware they cause death slowly over a period of time, besides other life-threatening side effects. The threat to life caused by human negligence  has now reached the higher levels of Mt. Everest, once a paradise free from  pollution. Thanks to  commercial mountaineering and  the  countless  adventure-seeking climbers  who left behind some of the useless stuff on the mountains once they reached their goal - standing atop the roof of the world. It is pathetic to say upper reaches of Mt Everest are no longer safe and excessive littering not only cause air pollution but also water pollution. The small towns and villages near the rivers are prone to water pollution when the snow melts and the water brings the pollutants down stream. Many villages are dependent on water from the glacial melts. 

According to  New Scientist reports, snow samples taken even 300 meters at altitudes between 5334 and 7772 meters on Everest all had concentrations of arsenic and cadmium in excess of what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe; soil samples taken in the same locations had high levels of arsenic. The presence of heavy metal concentration  in snow on the higher slopes of Mt. Everest is matter of serious concern for the future climbers because their dependence on melted snow for water is inevitable.
Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh of  the University of Southern Maine at Gorham, points out the heavy metal concentrations "could be a concern." Further, when such heavy metal contaminated glacial melt water feeds the rivers in the plains, the lives of people along the river course will be facing serious threats. To cut down the risk to humans, fish, etc  the Nepal government should make it compulsory to analyze the melt water from the Everest areas periodically and check the quality of potable water.
Ladder company. Corporate sponsorship!!Chris Madden cartoons
This well-researched paper admits that at  much higher levels we have no knowledge of how much heavy metal concentration  is there. For the aspiring climbers, much higher reaches of Everest are significant for their successful assault on the summit. A pollution free environment is a must at such levels.
The authors are of the opinion  developing a comprehensive database from other high-altitude settings  is significant because from the data  it  can be determined if the source of the heavy metals is from natural or anthropogenic  sources - as a result of human activities.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19803-toxic-heavy-metals-reach-top-of-the-world/
Read the paper: Trace Element Deposition on Mount Everest [PDF]