LALITPUR, June 8: Stakeholders are worried about the degrading environment of Godavari area in the southern outskirts of Kathmandu due to unmanaged waste.
Godavari, renowned for its serenity and natural beauty, lies about 15 km south from the center of the capital. Besides being a recreation center, it is also a study center having a botanical garden and offers trekking trails in the nearby dense forests for hikers. However, plastic bags and bottles scattered around the area have become an eyesore.
During holidays, around 5,000 people visit Godavari for recreation, says Bal Kumar Ghimire, chairperson of Ward No 3 of Godavari Municipality.
"We are afraid of haphazardly thrown plastic bottles and bags in the area by visitors as well as locals," he said. "It has resulted in water pollution here. On the other hand, beauty of the place is gradually fading away."
Meanwhile, private water suppliers under the protection of influential leaders of the ruling parties have encroached upon public water resource to sell it in the city areas and earn money, according to the locals. This has had an adverse effect on farming in the area. “A few years ago, we used to complete the paddy plantation by this time of the year. But we are yet to begin plantation this year due to exploitation of water resources by the private water tanker suppliers," said a local, Laxmi Silwal.
A study carried by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) found 39 springs in the area which were gradually depleting. ICIMOD has underlined the need to work for recharging water resources.
Mayor Gajendra Maharjan said that the local authorities are working in the interest of the people. "Though what are doing is not enough, we are working to keep the area clean and tidy," he said. "If people's mindset is changed, the area will be clean itself. They throw waste matters wherever they like instead of throwing them in trash bins."