Kathmandu, March 26
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today participated in the Bagmati Festival organised in Guheshwari to mark the 150th week of the Mega Bagmati Clean-up Campaign.
Bhandari, the chief guest of the festival, along with others collected trash in a symbolic message to highlight the need to make the sacred river worth taking a holy dip. Admiring the enthusiasm of activists to revive the glory of the Bagmati, she appealed to all to cooperate with the campaigners.
The campaign was launched on May 19, 2013. Thousands of volunteers from over 100 governmental and non-governmental organisations have been working hard to revive the past glory of the river.
According to the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation, the organiser of Bagmati Festival, there has been cleaner and faster currents in the river along the Gokarna-Shankhamul stretch compared to previous years.
Aquatic beings can now survive in the Bagmati River above Guheshwari. Over 300 metric tonnes of solid garbage was removed from the Bagmati River during the period. Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, members of parliament, security officials, government officials, environmental activists and general public also took part in the clean-up campaign.
The Bagmati, comprising 57 rivers and rivulets as its tributaries, originates from Baghdwar and bifurcates the Kathmandu Valley and crosses the Valley at Chobhar. Many shrines and cemeteries such as Gokarneshwar, Guheshwari and Pashupatinath temples, which are World Heritage Sites, are located on its banks.
Increasing degradation of the Bagmati Basin has been evident in recent years due to rapid urbanisation and population growth. Uncontrolled disposal of untreated wastewater (domestic, industrial, solid waste and agricultural runoff) in the rivers has far surpassed the assimilative capacity of the river, according to a study.
Various studies have reported that water of the Bagmati River is of very poor quality and unsuitable for any freshwater fauna and flora for most of the dry season. The water quality, in the rainy season, however, improves considerably due to the increase in the assimilative capacity of the river.
A version of this article appears in print on March 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.