KATHMANDU, Aug 20: The executive council of Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality in Solukhumbu district in the Everest region has decided to ban plastic items of less than 30 microns thickness in the rural municipality. The new rule will come into effect from January 1, 2020, according to a notice issued by the rural municipality on Sunday.
Namche Bazaar, the gateway to Mt Everest lies in the rural municipality.
A similar ban had been announced in 1999 also, but it could not be effective due to the government's failure to implement it and lack of cooperation from the locals.
“The locals are now really concerned about climate change issues and excessive pollution in the Khumbu region, so this time the ban will be effective,” said Ganesh Ghimire, the chief administrative officer of the rural municipality.
The increasing flow of tourists to the Khumbu region, where the Mt Everest is located, is causing a lot of environmental problems of late, according to officials. Along with the tourists come a lot of non-biodegradable waste which is difficult to manage, said officials.
“But plastic items that are more than 30 microns thick will be allowed,” Ghimire told Republica over the phone.
"All types of plastic bags, bottles and items not meeting the given standard will be banned here. Anyone using banned plastic items will be fined,” he added.
The council is currently discussing ways to properly manage the waste. After this there will be a meeting with airline companies and trekking companies to inform them about the new rule, he said.
“Items like Coke, Fanta, Sprite and other beverages in plastic bottles will not be allowed,” read the notice. “But beverages in metal cans will be allowed.”
All households residing in the Khumbu region will be provided five plastic bags of different types and sizes which they can use for daily activities, said Ghimire.
The locals have enough time to get rid of all the materials made of plastics and products they have ordered for this tourism season as they until January 1 to comply with the new rule.