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Nepalis run to save glacial lake near Everest PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 June 2009

More than 100 Nepalis took part in a race near Mount Everest on Thursday to highlight the effect of climate change on a glacial lake that risks bursting near the world's tallest peak.

Environmental activists say rising temperatures are fast shrinking the Himalayan glaciers from which several Asian rivers originate, threatening the lives of millions of people who depend on them for water.

Thursday's race was aimed at raising awareness among the local community about the risks of global warming to the Imja glacial lake near the base camp of the 8,850-metre Mount Everest.

Organisers said the Imja lake is growing by about 74 metres each year and could burst its banks "any time", threatening to wash away many sherpa villages in the Khumbhu region, home to Everest and other mountains.

Participants, mostly villagers, ran from the lake located at 5010 metres to Khumjung village at 3,790 metres, said Dawa Steven Sherpa of the Initiatives for Development & Eco Action Support, the organisers of the event.

"They (runners) are pretty tired but in high spirits," Sherpa, an environmentalist, told Reuters from Khumjung.

"We have fulfilled our objectives of raising the awareness of the local people."

Regular climbers to Mount Everest say besides the risks to glaciers, rising temperatures are melting snow and turning the mountain's slopes barren, making it even harder to scale the world's tallest peak.

More than 3,000 people have climbed Mount Everest since New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first scaled it in 1953.


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