The Himalayan range encompasses about 15,000 glaciers, which store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. The 70-km-long Siachen Glacier at the India-Pakistan border is the second-longest glacier in the world outside the polar region. Some of the other more famous glaciers include the Gangotri and Yamunotri (Uttarakhand), Nubra, Biafo, and Baltoro (Karakoram region), Zemu (Sikkim), and Khumbu glaciers (Mount Everest region). Some of the world's major rivers, including the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Red River (Asia), Xunjiang, Chao Phraya, Irrawaddy River, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Tarim River, and Yellow River, rise in the Himalayas. Their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, People's Republic of China, India, Nepal, Burma, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Pakistan (Figs. 1.2 and 1.3).
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.