EDITORIAL: Flood warning

We need to do away with the present obsolete manner in which the weather forecast is being conducted to make weather predictions accurate

Nepal is a country very prone to floods and every year floods take a heavy toll of human lives and also damage property worth billions of rupees.

Nepal therefore could very well do with a modern weather-based flood warning system. Such a system has become a necessity and should therefore be accorded due priority. Such flood warning systems would assist particularly in giving enough time to apply various safety measures before a flood occurs downstream and also other areas where they are likely to occur.

It is high time the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology did something about calamities like floods. It has finally begun to test a flood warning system. The system should be in place in major river basins so as to upgrade the 72-hour based short-ranged weather forecasting system.

There is dire need to have a more advanced weather forecasting system. At a time when it is possible to predict the weather with almost  100 per cent accuracy  Nepal too must do something about it by adopting weather radar and other such advanced instruments.

If we possessed such equipment then we could predict floods and where and when they are likely to occur. More importantly, this would make it possible to possess flood warning systems. This would provide the required information of the possibility of floods about three days in advance thus helping those who are likely to be affected to move to safer areas.

With adequate time to adopt security measures before the floods occur, preventive measures could be taken. This could come in useful to avert the possible damage and losses of life. According to the authorities, Nepal would also be formally launching an advanced weather forecasting system after carrying out certain tests.

It would be possible to predict the floods in certain regions as per precipitation.

Radar and radiosonde balloons would assist in providing information about the place, time and quantity of rainfall made through the observation of cloud formation. At present the Met office has so far been only collecting flood-related data from the field weather stations based throughout the country.

Multiple channels should be able to provide emergency alerts about impending floods. The floods mostly occur during the monsoon. Nepal has witnessed a two-day delay of the monsoon this year. The monsoon is beginning with light to heavy showers throughout the country.  This year an above normal rainfall is expected to take place in the South Asia region.

Meanwhile, not only rainfalls are the reason for floods in Nepal. Floods could also occur due to the bursting of glacial lakes and their threats are real. Those to be affected most would be the people living downstream and on the river banks. This is all the more reason why we should have a flood warning system in place.

As we lack the necessary flood warning system we should make the most about adopting it, and there should be no dillydallying about doing it as is happening now under the present system. We need to do away with the present obsolete manner in which the weather forecast is being conducted and replaced it with modern methods available in making weather predictions accurate.

Garbage galore

Every week hundreds of people including noted personalities and celebrities gather on the Bagmati River banks to collect tonnes of garbage in a mission to clean up the holy river polluted by the people themselves.

This kind of campaign has been going on for the last 215 weeks. There has been much improvement in making the river less polluted. But this is not the ultimate way out to clean the Bagmati and its tributaries flowing through the heavily populated Kathmandu Valley.

One of the biggest challenges for all the municipalities, including the Kathmandu and Lalitpur metropolitan cities, is to collect and manage the garbage on a daily basis.

All the municipalities must come up with a collective plan of action to dispose of the garbage that also poses serious threats to public health, the beauty of the cities and open spaces.

In order to make all the municipalities clean and free from piles of garbage in the rivers and public spaces it is imperative to pass a law banning such practices. A strict law imposing a hefty fine can deter people from polluting the public places.

Launching clean-up campaigns will not yield any desired results unless the local levels take concrete steps to manage garbage in a scientific manner.