The threats that Tibet’s environment is facing include deforestation, wildlife decimation including endangerment of an estimated 81 species, damming of rivers for hydroelectric projects, agricultural destruction and nuclear waste dumping. These issues have occurred due to the changes in policy brought upon by Chinese occupation. Such changes in policies include shifts to nuclearism, increased hunting, altered agricultural production and resource extraction.
Recent studies published the Chinese Academy of Sciences have documented evidence of serious detriment to the quantity and quality of Tibet’s freshwater reserves, most of them caused by industrial activities. Another related problem is deforestation, which has led to large-scale erosion and siltation (pollution of water by suspended silt sediments caused by soil erosion). Mining, manufacturing, and other human activities are currently producing record levels of air and water pollution in Tibet. Together, these factors may lead to future water shortage that could further jeopardize the socioeconomic stability of the region. At the same time, the region’s warming climate is causing glaciers to recede at a rate faster than anywhere else in the world – by three feet (.9 meters) per year, in some parts of Tibet – according to a report in May 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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