May 3, 2022
A heat wave in India and Pakistan is melting asphalt, hurting crops, shutting down schools, and setting fires. Dozens of people have died from the heat.
A 17-story-sized garbage dump went up in flames in New Delhi. The huge dumpster fire happened without warning. It was caused when methane from decomposing organic waste self-ignited. The fire sent toxic clouds into the air for three days last week.
Weather-sparked garbage fires and heat waves aren’t a rarity in India. 1.4 billion people live there. The hot temperatures, though, are unusual this early in the year. Central and northwest India reached their highest recorded temperatures ever for April. They climbed as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit in 15 states. Surface temperatures in parts of the northwest were 140 degrees!
Officials in Pakistan say the country of 221 million people is experiencing a "spring-less" year. Pakistan has seen temperatures as high as 117 degrees.
“Rarely it happens that nearly the whole country is reeling under a heat wave,” one scientist told Reuters. She said it was “beyond doubt” that climate change has contributed to it.
She described the heat on the Maharastran coast as “unbearable.” Officials have said 25 people died in the state from the heat. The Indian government has yet to release a tally of deaths linked to the heat wave.
In Madhya Pradesh, the heat wave has severely damaged wheat crops. In that state, along with four others that make up India’s “food bowl,” high temperatures stopped the full growth of the crop.
Photo from Reuters.
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