KATHMANDU, Jan 5: The government has declared Chitwan National Park as Nepal's first plastics-free national park from January 1.
While plastic bags have been banned inside the park, every item of single-use plastics including water bottles and food wrappers that are taken inside the national park by visitors from any of its eight entry points will need to be brought out and disposed of at the several bins near the gates.
Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), along with its partner Coca-Cola in Nepal, Nepal Army, WWF Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), local buffer zone communities and tourism entrepreneurs have supported the initiative led by the Ministry of Forests and Environment.
“The announcement was made by organizing a special function in Sauraha, Chitwan upheld by a joint commitment of support made by representatives from local, state and federal government, buffer zone communities, private sector, tourism agencies and civil society organizations,” read a statement jointly issued by the Coca-Cola, WWF Nepal and the Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI) on Friday.
Dr Ghanashyam Gurung, country representative of WWF Nepal stated that they are looking for local solutions to tackle the global problems, plastic being one of them. “By working together at federal, provincial and local levels, we need to uphold our individual and institutional commitment and credibility for the successful implementation of this undertaking,” said Gurung.
Shilshila Acharya, CEO of HCI, said that it is estimated that an average of 20 million plastic bags are used every day in Nepal. “The use-and-throw culture and pollution created due to single-use-plastics are destroying our planet. I believe that the coming together of all sectors to declare Chitwan National Park as a single-use-plastics free zone is a much-needed step forward, to inspire similar efforts in other protected areas and in entire Nepal,” said Acharya.
According to the organizers, collection bins have been placed at numerous locations outside Chitwan National Park for visitors to dispose of any plastic items brought out from the national park. The collected single-use plastics, primarily water bottles, will in turn be taken back to collection sites and waste management plants in Chitwan for recycling. Ambuj Singh, Country Director of Coca-Cola in Nepal committed that Coca-Cola in Nepal shall ensure the recyclable plastic waste collected at Chitwan National Park goes through the right recycling process.