Himalaya Day or Himalaya Diwas is celebrated every year on 9 September with an aim to preserve the Himalayan ecosystem and region. The Himalayas play an important role in saving and maintaining nature and protecting the country from adverse weather conditions. Apart from being rich in biodiversity of flowers and fauna, the Himalayan range is also responsible for bringing rain to the country. Himalaya Day is also an excellent day to raise awareness among the general public and bring about community participation in conservation activities. This year nation celebrates 14th Himalaya Diwas.
Significance of Himalaya Day
This day is celebrated to mark the importance of the Himalayas. The Himalayan hill cities face many challenges due to poor building planning and design, poor infrastructure like roads, water supply, sewage etc. and unprecedented felling of trees. This results in serious ecological issues.
The day is observed highlighting that there is an urgent need to develop eco-sensitive hill town plans and designs. The Himalayas are a source of strength and a valuable heritage for the entire world. So it needs to be protected. Apart from promoting scientific knowledge, the day helps to raise awareness and community participation.
History of Himalaya Day
9th September was officially declared as Himalaya Day by the then chief minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, in 2014. The idea was conceptualized by Anil Joshi of the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization and other Indian environmentalists. The initiative aimed to observe 9th September as Himalaya Diwas in all the Himalayan states of India from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. The reason is that these states have a common Himalayan social ecology.
The date selected for this celebration has no significant relevance to the environmental history of the socio-cultural sphere of any Himalayan state in India. One reason why Himalaya Diwas was declared could be the devastating monsoon that affected the area in August 2010. The 2013 Kedarnath catastrophe could be another inspiration as it was the first large-scale event that exposed the fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem.
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