KATHMANDU, Oct 26: A meeting of mayors, deputy mayors, and senior government officials, as well as non-governmental organizations, has finalized a six-point draft with the objective of reducing pollution in the capital city, Kathmandu.
The meeting on Thursday also suggested the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) prioritize waste management, prohibit dumping of waste in public places, ban burning of waste in the open and take stringent actions against the violators.
The draft submitted to the mayor of KMC has urged the metropolis to set a definite time-frame for completing different construction activities including road expansion, sewage management and drinking water project ongoing in the city. The draft also stressed the need for effective monitoring of the construction works that have been abetting pollution.
Other points included in the draft proposed making the city bicycle-friendly and pedestrian-friendly and promoting greenery.
The draft has recommended the KMC to make public transportation effective, prohibit polluting vehicles and ensure proper traffic management to lower vehicular emission and work toward promoting sustainable urban mobility in the Kathmandu Valley.
The meeting also urged the KMC to effectively monitor and implement the National Air Quality Standard to reduce the emission from factories.
Environment experts shed light on the gravity of the issue at the meeting, which was jointly organized by Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC). Elected representatives of 18 municipalities of the Valley had attended the meeting.
The meeting was organized with the motive of creating awareness on the degrading environment.
Regional program manager at ICIMOD, Arnico Kumar Panday, stressed on the need to take immediate steps to check the worsening air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley.
“Air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley varies from time to time and during different seasons. Air gets more polluted in the mornings and evenings,” said Panday.
According to a World Health Organization report published in 2012, air pollution kills 9,000 people annually in Nepal.
Melba Pria, Mexican ambassador to India, who was a guest at the meeting, said that Mexico has been working since 25 years to address the problem of air pollution and to improve air quality.
“We reduced 7.7 million tones of air carbon emission in 2012 after starting the campaign in 1996. So, the Kathmandu Valley can also be free from air pollution if it formulates strict laws related to environment and implement them effectively,” said ambassador Pria.
Mayors and deputy mayors of Thimi, Mahalaxmi, Budhanilkantha municipalities among others urged the federal and provincial governments to act tough so that they can also replicate the same spirit at the local level.
Stating that the federal government is trying its best to enforce environment-friendly acts, Jhalak Ram Adhikari, director general at the Department of Environment, urged the local bodies to translate their commitments toward improving environment into action.
KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya promised to implement the suggestions included in the draft by collaborating with the federal government, other concerned government agencies and non-governmental organizations.