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Team of climbers to investigate Himalayan environment, UN announces

Team of climbers to investigate Himalayan environment, UN announces

A team of expert climbers is on its way to the Himalayas to gather first-hand accounts from monks, local people and other travelers on the state of the environment of the world's most famous mountain range, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

The expedition, led by the veteran climber and broadcaster Ian McNaught-Davis and Roger Payne, a senior official with the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA), will also visit Island Peak to film and record the dramatic impacts that global warming is having on glaciers world-wide, UNEP said in a statement.

According to the agency, the expedition's findings, to be released to coincide with World Environment Day on 5 June, are likely to confirm the results from a study by the Programme and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), who reported on 16 April that 44 glacial lakes in Nepal and Bhutan now contain hazardous levels of water due to global warming melting nearby glaciers.

The expedition, which flies from London Heathrow to Kathmandu tonight, plans to interview officials at Sagarmatha National Park and monks at the famous Buddhist monastery at Thyangboche to gather hard facts on environmental changes in the area to not only the lakes and glaciers but also wildlife and vegetation.