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Painting the streets white in Arunachal Pradesh - Winter wonderland or climate concern?

14 Feb,2022 06:56 PM, by: Tanuel Nonang
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Much to the delight of the local dwellers of Arunachal Pradesh, this year saw unprecedented showers of snow in various regions of the state. On the 22nd of December 2021, Tawang experienced its first snowfall of the year. Blankets of snow covered the places of the district and the temperature went down gradually. This fall was welcomed by the people as it helps in attracting tourists from all over and helps boost tourism in the state. But unlike Tawang, where snowfall is not a new sight, some places in Arunachal received snowfall after many years. Rupa in West Kameng district received snowfall after almost two decades; whereas Dirang witnessed snowfall nearly after a long span of 15 years. Anini in the Dibang Valley received its snowfall after 5 years while other areas remained covered with snow.


P.c. instagram@mousumibaruah_ | Tawang

Pc: instagram@shotsbysang | Dirang

The unprecedented snowfall brought a wave of happiness and joyous feelings among the people. People celebrated this event by coming out of their houses and indulging in snow fights. In Tawang, monks were spotted expressing their happiness while cutting a giant cake made out of snow. Just like them, the people of the state were enthralled by the beautiful blankets of snow all over the streets, mountains, buildings, etc. Since the fall, social media wouldn’t stop buzzing with all the latest pictures and videos of people celebrating the snow-covered view with their loved ones. However, the good vibe was meant to be a short-lived one.

An unfortunate event

While for many, the unprecedented snowfall was a pleasant surprise, it also presented quite a few challenges. Along with the bitter cold waves, heavy downpours of rain were dished out to various parts of the state including the capital city, thus taking the temperature down to the minimum level. On the 6th of February 2022, a group of 7 Indian Army personnel who were a part of a patrol, unfortunately, got hit by an avalanche in the high altitude area of Kameng Sector of Arunachal Pradesh. This area has been reported to experience harsh bitter weather in the past couple of days before the aforementioned incident. Despite the diligent efforts of the search and rescue team, the brave Jawans couldn’t be saved. Amidst the celebrations of a beautiful snowfall, the state mourned for the lives claimed. 

Are we celebrating too early?

While most of the netizens are infatuated with the heavy snowfall in the state, no one exactly knows why this phenomenon is taking place. There have been many stances on the matter, with some sighting it as a positive change; viewing it as an outcome of a reduction in toxic gases and aversion of other potentially harmful circumstances during the lockdown phase. Many people like to believe that during this time, nature has been healing herself and the rather ‘sudden’ occurrence of snowfall is a blessing. However, this argument has led to quite a few debates. There is a significant number of people who are not so sure about why this is happening. The unexpected snowfall, that too in many areas of the state they feel, is a matter of grave concern. Furthermore, reports of problems caused by the recent heavy snowfall have surfaced. In West Kameng, the jamming of the pipelines has caused a shortage in the water supply. In Shergaon, property worth lakhs were adversely affected because of the snowfall. Tawang also reported roads getting blocked because of the heavy fall.

Argument on this matter has taken many sides, but the uncertainty remains.

What of tomorrow?

The rapid change in climate is a global issue and unfortunately, Arunachal Pradesh is not an exception. Analysing the occurrences that took place in the past days, with huge development taking place and infrastructures standing erect to see a new Arunachal tomorrow, the need to check on the situation of constantly changing climate is important. According to the sources, the annual mean temperature of Arunachal Pradesh has seen a rise of 0.05 degrees Celcius each year in the past 40 years which has led to the total increase in temperature by 0.59 degrees Celcius. Adding on, a concerning decline in the monsoon rainfall, as well as the annual rainfall that Arunachal Pradesh receives, has also been recorded in the past years. The mood of the climate has been unpredictable lately. The citizens have complained of unbearable waves of heat in the last couple of years especially in the capital region while on the other hand, this year Arunachal is experiencing chilling cold weather with snowfalls in certain places where it wasn’t even expected. In other words, the climatic condition of the state could be said to have started going extreme. While the snowfall has been welcomed with joyous ambience across the state, the extreme cold weather and the sudden heavy downpour of snowfall after so many years is a matter of concern when we look at it from the perspective of climate change. Is this just a normal snowfall that we were meant to experience, or is it high time that we start pondering seriously upon issues like global warming and its ill effects? 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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