KATHMANDU, June 11: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col on Thursday handed over the mission’s annual environmental awards to three military units for implementing environment-friendly initiatives in their bases and host communities.
The mission’s Nepali Battalion (NEPBATT) bagged the first prize for its realistic, innovative, achievable and low-cost projects that significantly contributed to limiting the mission’s environmental footprints in the host communities, according to a report published on the UNIFIL’s website.
Major General Del Col handed over the award to NEPBATT Commander Lt Col Rajib Thapa at a ceremony in the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura.
The NEPBATT initiatives included reusing wastewater, rainwater harvesting, reusing and recycling plastic and paper wastes, afforestation campaign within UNIFIL bases and in the communities, turning food waste into compost fertilizer, botanical nurseries and greenhouses using single-use plastic bottles, turning non-hazardous solid waste and plastic into gazebos and flowerpots.
Marking this year’s World Environment Day on 5 June, NEPBATT also donated garbage bins to Houla and Meiss ej-Jebel municipalities, undertook cleaning activities in the historic Chaqra Fort, and planted trees.
Meanwhile, UNIFIL Indian Battalion (INDBATT) and Sector West Headquarters were adjudged the first and second runners up, respectively.
Throughout the year, INDBATT launched litter-free campaigns in its bases, recycled and reused dew water as well as condensation water coming from air conditioners, launched afforestation drive and reused plastic wastes.
Likewise, UNIFIL Sector West Headquarters involved all military units within its command in the planning and execution of four environmental contingency plan exercises. The exercises included the intervention of all units and were a “bench test” to establish cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and UNIFIL.
The UNIFIL annual awards, established in December 2019, recognize environmental achievements within the mission’s area of operations. The awards commend individuals, UN positions, branches, contingents, sections, units that have demonstrated leadership, innovation or exceptional activities in protecting or enhancing the state of environment.