Regional drive to save environment stressed

Kathmandu, November 4:

The seventh Asia Pacific NGO’s Environment Conference (APNEC 7) kicked off here today with the participants laying stress on the need to forge a regional cooperation to protect the environment.

Addressing the inaugural function, chief justice Dilip Kumar Paudel said that environmental degradation has become a global issue. Healthy environment is a fundamental right of every human being, he said.

Noting that environment protection is an issue which is affected by political boundaries, professor T Awaji, the chairman of the Japan Environmental Council, sought regional cooperation in environment protection.

“The conference can pave the way for mutual partnership and cooperation,” Awaji said. Dr Shankar Sharma, the vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, noted that Nepal, like most of the countries in South Asia, has been suffering from environmental degradation at an alarming rate.

“The growing population, pressure on cultivable land, shrinking forests, industrial development and tourism industry have contributed to environmental degradation in the country,” he said.

Among others, climate change, river pollution and scarcity of drinking water in the urban areas are noted impacts of the threat to environment, he said.

Dr Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha, the chairman of the APNEC 7 technical committee, said that environmental issues dogging Nepal should also be looked in the light of armed conflict.

According to the organisers, about 150 participants from 15 Asian countries are taking part in the three-day conference. Over a dozen working paper on various environmental issues will be presented in the conference.