Black Carbon Levels in Himalayas Glaciers and Biomethation

5 March 2020

Black Carbon spikes in Himalayan Glaciers.


 A study  conducted by the scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) confirms that black carbon concentrations have risen 400 times near Gangotri Glacier in summer.This is due to the forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste.This has also caused melting of the glaciers.

Glaciers being a pristine zone far from sources of pollution, the measurements are critical to establishing a baseline for pollution loads and estimating the contribution of various sources to pollution.

About Black Carbon:

  • Black carbon results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. The fine particles absorb light and about a million times more energy than carbon dioxide.
  • It is said to be the second largest contributor to climate change after CO2.
  • However,unlike CO2, which can stay in the atmosphere for years together, black carbon is short-lived and remains in the atmosphere only for days to weeks before it descends as rain or snow.
  • Black carbon absorbs solar energy and warms the atmosphere. When it falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the surface of snow and ice, reducing their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), warming the snow, and hastening melting.

About Biomethation:

  • Simply put, Methanogenesis or Biomethanation is the process of combining organic waste materials into biogas and manure. This is done through the use of microorganisms under anaerobic that decompose such biodegradable wastes in the absence of oxygen.
  • Biomethanation provides an excellent urban waste management solution as it results in several end products that can be used for a wide range of applications. Some of the major advantages of using Biomethanation for managing urban waste products are mentioned below.
  • Generation of biogas, is the prime advantage of using this method. Biogas is a gaseous fuel that can be easily used for energy generation and production of heat.

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