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Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, speaking to members of the press at an event in Dharamshala, India. Photo: TPI/Yeshe Choesang

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“About 50% of Tibet’s glaciers have already disappeared and that two-thirds of the remaining 46000 glaciers could disappear by 2100. This is a grim situation and all nations should work in concert to find a lasting solution,” said President Dr Lobsang Sangay while addressing a press conference in Guwahati as part of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum organised by the Balipara Foundation.

Owing to increasing urbanisation in the Tibet region, the glaciers are melting at a much faster rate than anticipated. These glaciers are the largest repository of ice after the Arctic and Antarctica. Dr Sangay further emphasized on the importance of preserving glaciers in Tibet as more than a billion people depend on their waters. The 46,000 glaciers supply water to the rivers of major countries like India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Asian countries.

“The effects of jet stream over the Tibetan plateau on the climate of Europe and North America is a constant reminder that Tibet’s environment matters to the world and that the Tibet issue is not just the issue of the six million Tibetans,” added Dr Sangay in an attempt to pursue the international community.

Speaking at the 5th Rabindranath Barthakul Memorial Lecture in Guwahati, President Dr Sangay said that, “Scientists have proclaimed that the earth can sustain 7 billion people. Unfortunately, the world’s population is reaching 8 billion this year. Now for this extra one billion people, not enough land, water and forests are available”

“Growing water shortage is a reality and water will be a major cause of discontentment among nations in the future. There are also reports that China is trying to divert the Brahmaputra and assert greater control over Tibet’s vast water resources,” he said.

“If this happens, 1.4 billion people in the downstream countries who are dependent on Tibet’s rivers will be facing a great danger”

He further urged the international community to exert pressure on China to let Tibetans be the sole custodians of the Tibetan plateau reiterating that this issue isn’t merely political but environmental.

Tibet was invaded by the Communist regime in China, starting in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of six Tibetans died as a direct result of China's invasion and continued occupation of Tibet, over 6000 monasteries have been looted and destroyed— Crimes against Humanity and Genocide include murder, massacres, torture, rape, starvation, extreme deprivation, forced marches, enslavement, brutal violence, and systematic extermination. The communist regime continues to call this a 'peaceful liberation', that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."

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