Dirty rivers no longer link culture with water

Kathmandu, March 22:

The World Water Day passed off today amid much excitement among a section of environmentalists .While the theme coined by UN for the day read “Water and Culture”, it did not match the local efforts since the relationship between water and culture seems to have snapped over years.

“Culture has been affected by falling supply of water in the rivers. This is far removed from a scenario when Kathmandu Valley was believed to be a huge lake,” said Prakash Darnal, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

He also referred to excavations at Hadigaon which indicated that once there were too many water bodies and ponds in the valley. “We go to Pashupatinath, but don’t dip our heads in it. Well, doesn’t this indicate that culture is dying?,” Darnal asked.

Dr Suman Kumar Shakya, Deputy Executive Director of ENPHO, said “It is strange to hear people saying Bagmati is holy and yet discharge sewage into it,” He said septic tanks or water treatment plants could reverse the rot. Meanwhile ENPHO, which has been testing the water, has found the level of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in river water at 0.40 per litre at Sundarijal. It goes up to 570.0 mg per at Sundarighat.

Stress on cleaning up Bagmati

Kirtipur: To demonstrate the relation between water and culture, a programme was organised at Chobhar gorge, where the Bagmati is seen at its most polluted form. Addressing a programme, director general of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction Purna Kadariya said that cleaning of the Bagmati is everybody’s responsibility. Mayor of Kirtiupr Municipality Dhruba Maharjan said that the responsibility to clean up the Bagmati should be divided among the local municipalities. — HNS