Himalayan News Service
Conservation and environment issues seem to have been accorded top priority when it comes to discussions, but on the action part there is barely any visible progress. This is more so when it comes to bilateral or multi-lateral forums. Even the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year
could not come to concrete measures wherein agreement of all the parties converged. An appraisal of the COP-15 must be made to the extent that at least the issue of global warming induced climate change has been given prominence, but it falls short of the urgent need to restrain greenhouse gas emission, particularly from the extensive use of fossil
fuels. The hazardous emissions have to be reduced if the fallout is not to be damaging to the environment with far-reaching implications, including the extinction of many species of flora and fauna. Though there are skeptics, the evidences are there of the climate shifts with extended droughts or heavy rains in various parts of the world. It also seems to have the link with the melting of the polar caps and the Himalayan glaciers. Serious concerns have been raised particularly in this part of the world, that is South Asia, which is home to one-fifth of humanity. The mighty rivers originating from the Himalayan glaciers sustain life of tens of millions of people whether in the mountains or the lowlands. Any shift in the balance can have irreversible effects on the people in general.
India remains Nepal’s closest neighbour which is making rapid development strides, knowing the positive implications of regional cooperation on matters of environment conservation. The concerns of Nepal and India as regards environmental degradation are marked, and this makes it vital to chalk out a strategy to reverse the damages through mutual cooperation, reaching out to the other countries of South Asia. The Indian Minister for Environment and Forests, who is on a three-day visit to discuss environment and conservation issues with the Nepali authorities, is right to point out that bio-diversity does not stop at the geographical boundaries. The suggestion is that a better environment is necessary for bilateral and regional cooperation in the field of climate change and trans-boundary issues on environment and conservation. It is true that the Himalayan countries face the biggest threat from the glacier melt, but the rate at which it is happening is yet to be known. The limited studies on the Himalayan glaciers have not provided its clear picture. Yet, the threat is there and for this not only regional action plans but the global initiatives too should come forth. In this respect, the Nepal
government’s cabinet meet at the Everest base camp last year is testimony to the fact that Nepal too is concerned with global change and the resulting climate change.
That India is ready to talk cooperation in the climate change area comes as good news. More than anything else, a concerted approach to tackle climate change has become urgent as the effects can be disastrous without remedial measures both at the regional and global levels. It is time to act on the basis of sustainable plans and programmes without any further delay.
Many of the bridges on the highways of Nepal are in a state of disrepair due to the lack of timely maintenance. This is a danger for the vehicles and commuters plying over them. That the bridges are not repaired and maintained are acts of negligence to the extreme. It is found that this is so not only because of lack of funds to carry out the repair and maintenance works. Despite the availability of the money to undertake these works, the concerned are found to be neglecting the maintenance works. Were the repairs and maintenance carried out on time, most of the bridges could have been saved. As it is now, for example, the suspension bridge over the Trishuli River in Mugling will collapse any moment now as the necessary repair works of the bridge were not undertaken.
Since traffic could be halted for inordinate periods if the bridges were to collapse, it is high time maintenance works were carried out to save more bridges from the plight as the one over the Trishuli River in Mugling. The concerned should work overtime to save the bridges.