‘No reduction in plastic litter in Bagmati’

Kathmandu, August 1

Though the Bagmati Clean-up Campaign has been continuing for more than 200 weeks and various cleaning activities are being organised from time to time, there has been no significant reduction in plastic litter in the river, a recent study shows.

A team of young scientists had conducted a study between 2015 and April 2017 to quantify macro and micro plastic particles in the Bagmati River from Sundarijal to Gaur covering about 200 km. They said there was no significant reduction in plastic litter in the river.

Coordinator of the study Deep Narayan Shah, natural resource management specialist, IUCN Nepal, said availability of plastic litter  along many stretches of the Bagmati Rive was the same as in 2015.

“Only downstream from Pashupatinath to the place where the river meets other tributaries has plastic litter reduced. Along other stretches no change was recorded,” Shah told The Himalayan Times. “This has shown that cleaning the Bagmati River alone may not be sufficient.”

The team hiked the same route and collected samples at the same points to compare the data from 2015 with data collected in 2017. “The result was not encouraging. The amount of plastic litter in the river hasn’t changed much.”

During the study, the team hiked approximately 15 km along the river each day, stopping for measurements, interacting with local communities and spending their nights along the Bagmati River.

The study was organised by Himalayan Biodiversity and Climate Change Centre and supported by Biosphere Association. Standard one-metre quadrats were used to quantify the amount of plastic in the river and plankton nets were used to quantify macro and micro plastic particles flowing in the river.

The Bagmati river cleaning campaign was launched on the May of 2013. Every Saturday a huge number of participants from various sectors gather to collect waste from the river and its banks.