Every ward can be asked to develop at least one garden or park where the local people can enjoy the beauty of nature and stroll around

The importance of forestry in general and maintenance of greenery in the urban areas, in particular, cannot be exaggerated. Most of the mega cities around the world give special emphasis to maintaining greenery and open spaces in the form of gardens, fun parks, traffic islands, children’s parks, theme parks and so on.

Those green areas and open spaces provide denizens with fresh air and places to play with their friends, families and children or stroll around and also to provide temporary shelters in emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, fires in the city centres and outbreak of epidemics.

It is essential to maintain around 30 percent of the total urban area as  open space, and they should be covered with greenery where people can spend time at leisure or during weekends. As more vehicles emit carbon dioxide and smoke in the city centres more and more green belts are necessary to breathe fresh air.

In China, a business of selling bottled oxygen has mushroomed after people in urban areas suffered from lack of fresh air due to poisonous emission of smoke from vehicles plying on the streets. Municipalities around the world have started planting already grown up trees on the roadsides to maintain the environment and provide fresh air to the people.

But no initiatives have so far been taken in the Kathmandu Valley to maintain greenery on the roadsides. Most of the roads wear a deserted look as the authorities in the past did not think about planting trees causing much damage to  public health and the Valley’s natural environment.

Whatever green areas preserved in the past have also been either encroached upon or left unattended bearing ugly looks. No plans have been made to plant trees when the existing roads are widened or new ones built. It is the trees and green areas that maintain harmonious relation between humans and nature and help control pollution.

The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has decided to mark 2015 to 2025 as Forest Decade under which every household, village and urban centre is required to plant trees and shrubs. However, it is sad that there is only three percent forest cover in the Valley.

As the first phase of the local level election has already been completed and the second phase of the same is underway, the elected local level representatives can do much in maintaining greenery in their localities and planting trees on the roadsides in the urban areas.

The concerned ministry can also assist the local governments in formulating a policy on forestry and planting trees on the roadsides and developing more and more parks and gardens in all rural and urban municipalities. Every ward can be asked to develop at least one garden or park where the local people can enjoy the beauty of nature and stroll around.

The parks, botanical gardens and forestry along with a provision for zoos, can be a regular source of income for all wards and municipalities. Some municipalities have already set examples on how forests, parks or green areas can generate revenue for sustenance.

Commuters’ ordeal

Commuting in the capital is an ordeal as the commuters have to face many hassles. It is very difficult to commute especially after six in the evening.

There are just not enough public buses and other kinds of public transport to accommodate all the commuters as a result of which they have to travel in jam-packed micros and buses, if they are available. It often takes one hour or more to commute even short distances.

The situation becomes much worse during office hours and in the evening. The poor condition of the roads is also responsible for causing delays, are perennial traffic snarls in most of the roads.

This is very difficult especially for those who have to commute to their workplace. They find it very difficult to be punctual as a result. Moreover, they face many problems reaching their residence after work as the demand for public transport is more during peak hours.

Therefore, this calls for putting sufficient public transport on roads. Having more big buses could help the commuters as the roads are crowded with vehicles. It is high time that commuters were able to commute in comfort.

For this, having more bigger vehicles, better management and sound regulation could be a big help.