Nepal | September 29, 2020

EDITORIAL: Tackling pollution

The Himalayan Times
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This strategy, if implemented, would enable the collection of the necessary
data on pollution, ultimately helping to address the problem of pollution

Pollution is not being accorded the priority it deserves by the government and also other stakeholders.

It is increasing at an alarming level and the thing to worry about is that inadequate efforts are being made to deal with this scourge. Despite the enormity of the threat posed by pollution Nepal has yet to possess the necessary state-of-the-art gadgets to monitor the level of pollution.

As a result, we lack the required data on the pollution on air and water, as well as noise and visual pollution. Feeble efforts have been made so far to collect the data on these. The setting up of three air quality monitoring stations in Kathmandu is not enough. We need to collect more data on pollution.

Though the air pollution monitoring practice had begun in 2002 there were no stations operating after 2009. This is a height of negligence on the part of those who should have ensured that they were working as they would have been helpful in collecting necessary data on pollution.

The Danish government had set up seven air quality stations in 2002. They had been installed then in such strategic areas as Machchenguan, Kirtipur, Patan, Putalisadak, Bhaktapur and Thamel.

These were handed over to the government in 2008 and the government assigned the task for running them to the Environment and Public Health Organization which miserably failed to do so. However, misunderstanding amongst the concerned led to the closure of these monitoring stations in 2009.

It is now five months since air monitoring has resumed in the capital city and the government had installed three air quality monitoring stations here and also in Dhulikhel.

The concerned should have done this long ago as the pollution levels have exceeded the permissible limit with adverse consequences for public health and also causing irreparable damage to the environment.

Although late the Department of Environment has finally drafted a final National Pollution Control Strategy and Action Plan. This was done after collecting the required feedback from stakeholders before finalizing the draft by organizing workshops.

The draft has been forwarded to the Asian Development Bank for feedback. Once it is received the Ministry of Environment and Population will be forwarded the draft plan. In the feedback received the government stands accused of overlooking the issue of pollution and lacking seriousness in doing something about it.

As little, if any data, has been collected on pollution, this has obstructed the department works which prepared the strategy in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and ADB.

The draft provides for a strategy to install an Environment Protection and Climate Change Council with the purpose of dealing with the issues related to the environment protection and climate change.

The envisaged council would have 41 members and the prime minster would chair it. Also proposed is the forming of the Strategy and Action Plan Implementation Coordination Committee and an Action Plan Implementation Unit.

This strategy, if implemented, would enable the collection of the necessary data on pollution, ultimately helping to address the problem of pollution.

There should be no further delay in compilation of the data as it would assist in dealing with the rampant pollution that is taking place.

Implement it

Tribhuvan University on Wednesday set the age limit for students for contesting the Free Student Union (FSU) elections at 28, which is expected to discourage politically-motivated students from remaining students even in their thirties just to play party politics in the temple of learning.

Youths who want to become or are professional politicians have long used TU campuses for party-political ends, thus spoiling the academic environment of TU and its campuses.

But TU’s objective of keeping sham students out of its FSU activities will be achieved only if it can carry out its decision.

In the past two, age limit had been set, but it was relaxed or waived. This must not happen again.

TU has also decided to hold the FSU elections on February 25, which have not been held since 2009 though they are supposed to take place every two years. This has happened because of the sharp differences among various student organizations affiliated to various political parties.

The rules and regulations about the FSU elections should be clear-cut and strict and timely elections must not be postponed.

A version of this article appears in print on January 06, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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