Monday, September 28, 2009

New glacier painting marks the precarious situation in the Himalayas

Tatiana Iliina's new abstract painting, Gangotri Glacier, is named after the glacier that is the main source of the Ganga River, also known as the Ganges.

The Ganges is India's holy river. As described by Jawaharlala Nehru in his 1946 book, Discovery of India,

"The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man…"

The Ganga flows for 2,500 km through India, Nepal and Bangladesh and provides water for something like half a billion people before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Considering that the Gangotri glacier is responsible for up to 70% of the water in the river during the dry summer months and that this glacier is receding twice as fast as in recent years, the future for the River Ganga is by no means clear. Some scientists estimate that the glacier may be gone by 2030. If that is the case, drastic measures will be required to keep the the river from drying up completely.

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