Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Nepal, January 2014

Nepal has been ranked 139th in the Environmental Performance Index 2014, which assessed 178 countries across the world. Read more in this January 2014 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Nepal.

ENVIRONMENT

Nepal has been ranked 139th in the Environmental Performance Index 2014, which assessed 178 countries across the world.

LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE

The Supreme Court issued an interim order to the Nepal government to prohibit imports of genetically modified (GM) seeds including those supplied by Monsanto, a US- based chemical and agricultural biotechnology company. Farmers of Lamjung district in Nepal, are gradually taking to organic coffee farming though they had kept themselves away from coffee farming after facing various problems. The fertile lands in various places in Myagdi district of Nepal, are turning into barren land for lack of labourers and manpower in agriculture sector these days. In Nepal, the virus of the foot and mouth disease that had taken epidemic proportion in Chitwan has been identified. The virus of the disease has been identified as PanAsia , according to the District Livestock Health Office. A total of 42 cattle heads have already perished due to the disease in Chitwan alone.

MINING

The District Administration Office (DAO), Morang in Nepal has warned of closing down the crusher industries operating illegally near the different rivers in Biratnagar district.

WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES

In Nepal, a number of lakes in the far-west known for their religious and tourism significance are in crisis, thanks to the apathy of the concerned authority. Even lakes that figured in the Ramsar list like Kailali’s Ghodaghodi lake, and around half a dozen other lakes in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Kanchanpur, are losing their beauty and shrinking.

DAMS

Dhaulagiri Lift Irrigation project in Nepal has been constructed at a total cost of 30 million rupees at Bageshwari VDC at Dhaulagiri village in Banke district. The Nepal  government has invited the promoters of the Upper Trishuli-1 Hydroelectric Project for the Project Development Agreement negotiations that is scheduled for January 14 and 15. The Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project, located north-east of Charikot, headquarters of  Dolakha district, is the biggest hydropower project in Nepal. The Nepal government in the fiscal year 2012/13 collected revenue over Rs 297.8 million through the distribution and renewal of license for the construction of the hydro power projects.

FORESTS

The Korea Green Foundation has felicitated 224 community forest users in recognition of their contribution to protect green forests in Nepal. Currently, there are 18,133 community forests across Nepal and some 10.25 million people directly depend on the forest products, according to statistics of the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN). Nawalparasi Forest Office in Nepal, complained that more than 5,000 hectares of forest area in the district had been encroached by individuals and different organisations.

POLLUTION

With increasing urbanisation and pressure of vehicles, the tourist destination of Pokhara and its thriving tourism industry in Nepal, are likely to hit hard by air pollution. The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers in Nepal,  is set to launch an initiative to reduce air pollution at the Lumbini World Heritage Site. A campaign to clean the Trisuli river was launched, with  half-a-dozen organisations including Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Nepal Association of Rafting Agency, lending hands for the cause.

FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS

Nepal is ranked 20th on the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre’s list of most multihazard-prone countries. In 2011 alone, 25 earthquakes of magnitude of 4 or higher and many smaller ones on the Richter scale have hit Nepal, according to the national Seismological Centre. Ninety-five per cent of the houses in Nepalgunj municipality of Nepal are at high risk from earthquake, the Nepalgunj Municipality stated.

HABITAT

Lumanti, a support group for shelter in Nepal, has invested around Rs. 50 million in Banke district under the programme - Housing Project for Urban Poor. A master plan is to be prepared with an objective to manage rural roads constructed in different villages in Baglung district of Nepal. According to Bhaikaji Tiwari, chief of the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC), they are now planning to expand roads in Godawari, Sundarijal and Tokha areas.

WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Only 65 percent population in Nepal has access to safe drinking water whereas the remaining 35 percent is compelled to drink polluted water. Kavre Valley Integrated Drinking Water Project in Nepal, which aims to address the water woes of all three municipalities in the district — Dhulikhel, Banepa and Panauti — has hit a snag after Panauti folks refused to agree to the project and put forward a number of demands. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is all set to monitor waste management in hospitals and hotels in the city. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City plans to install separate bins for organic and inorganic waste at the busiest sections of the city within the current fiscal. Dhaulagiri has been declared the first open defecation free zone in Nepal. FORCE Nepal, a youth-run social organisation, in coordination with the Ministry of Science, Environment and Technology and various other social organisations  launched yet another edition of a monthlong plastic-free campaign in Sankhu.

PEOPLE

Families displaced by the Shuklaphanta Wild Life Preserve Area in Nepal have declared that they were going to resort to a 'do or die' protest, as they have failed to get any compensation even after 12 years of their displacement.

HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS

A large number of children below two years of age have been afflicted by diarrhoea in Jumla district of Nepal. A study shows that more than 1,500 people have been infected with elephantiasis in Kanchanpur district of Nepal. . A total of 2,448 leprosy patients received treatment across the country in 2013 and the  number of leprosy patients has dropped in the western region of Nepal. A total of 42,26,996 children in Nepal, below the age of five years, received anti-polio drops in the second phase of the 15th National Polio Immunisation Campaign. Nepal has made tremendous gains in the under-5 mortality rates, said UNICEF. The Good Enough to Eat Index prepared by Oxfam, an international non-government organisation, has placed Nepal in 91st position among 125 countries, with a score of 32. The report shows that around 30 per cent of children in Nepal are underweight, while around 16 per cent of the people are undernourished. As a result, Nepal secured a score of 64 in the ‘underweight children’ category and score of 19 in ‘undernourishment’ category. The Nepal Ministry of Health and Population has urged all tobacco companies to obey the Tobacco Product Control and Regulatory Act 2011 and Tobacco Product Control and Regulatory Rule 2012.

PESTICIDES AND HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS

A sample test of vegetables conducted by adopting Rapid Bioassay for Pesticide Residue (RBPR) analysis technique concluded that around a third of vegetables produced in Kathmandu districts and made available in the market showed traces of Organophosphate and Carbamate pesticides. The Pesticide Registration and Management Division (PRMD) in Nepal, has drafted a new Act and regulation on pesticide management, which, among others, propose imposing a fine of up to Rs 50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months on suppliers and agro-vets who try to sell unwarranted quantity of pesticides to farmers.

ENERGY

Pokhara Sub-metropolis and other local stakeholders in Nepal, have launched a project to install street lamps powered by solar energy in two major business hubs-Lakeside and New Road—in the city. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City is to install 300 solar street lamps in different parts of the town as per its Ujyalo Kathmandu programme. The National Planning Commission (NPC) in Nepal is preparing an action plan to promote sustainable energy in the country to meet the United Nations’ goal on providing access to energy to everyone by 2030.

LIVING RESOURCES

Conservationists claimed to have captured a rare Pallas’ cat species on camera for the first time in Nepal in Upper Mustang area in the Himalayan region. A group of tuskers from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, strayed into the human settlement and destroyed more than 50 huts and shelters at Ramnagar area. Such incidences were reported from Thori in Persa too, where the  herds of wild tuskers are unleashing terror among the locals by destroying their crops, plantation and houses. The number of endangered black bucks (antelopes) has increased at Shuklaphanta Wild Life Reserve in Nepal. A census of the birds in Chitwan district of Nepal, showed that Chitwan is home to 14,078 birds in compared to the 10,032 recorded the previous year, according to Bird Education Society, Chitwan.

 

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