Scientists begin Bagmati clean-up impact study

Kathmandu, April 29

A team of 10 scientists have begun the Bagmati River Expedition 2017 today to assess the impact of the Bagmati Clean-up Campaign on the river’s ecology.

The expedition started from Chovar of Kathmandu along the length of the Bagmati River within Nepal. The team plans to complete the expedition within eight to 12 days.

Coordinator of the expedition and natural resource management specialist in IUCN Nepal, Deep Narayan Shah, said the team would gather data on biological, hydro-morphological, and physio-chemical parameters along the length of the Bagmati River.

He said this was the second expedition of its kind, the first one carried out in 2015 before the clean-up campaign began.

Shah said scientists would compare data collected from the two expeditions to analyse the impact made in the river’s ecology by the campaign. He added that the findings and assessment report will be made public by May-end this year.

The Bagmati River Expedition 2015 collected vital baseline data of 38 parameters at sites along the length of the Bagmati River within Nepal. A total of 174 bird species belonging to 12 orders and 41 families were recorded during the expedition.

Of the birds recorded, one species is nationally protected, five species are vulnerable, and one species is endangered. At global level, one bird species is categorised as vulnerable and three as near-threatened.

Pollution derived from anthropogenic sources in Kathmandu Valley is affecting 80 to 100 km’s length of the Bagmati River. Communities downstream have noticed the effects of the cleaning campaign, but there is still a lot of pollution. The communities are also at some risk from flooding, but are unprepared.

The results of the Bagmati Expedition 2015 showed that the river was extremely polluted until 25-20 km upstream of Chovar, a stretch covering the most urbanised areas of Kathmandu Valley.