This year’s theme of the World Environment Day (June 5), “Melting Ice: A Hot Topic”, is most relevant to Nepal as its fast-receding glaciers run the risk of disappearing in the next 50 years. On the other hand, melting ice is increasing the size of the glacial lakes dramatically. The level of water, air and noise pollution have also shot up. Due to global warming , the country is witnessing more draughts and more people are falling victims to communicable diseases.
The Environment Protection Act, 1997 emphasises “...inseparable inter-relationship between the economic development and environment protection.” But economic development has clearly taken precedence over environment protection, in Nepal as well as in more developed countries. Countries like the US, China and India have emerged as the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases that are infamously responsible for global warming. The refusal of the US, the biggest CO2 emitter in the world, to sign the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which makes it mandatory for the developed nations to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, is a blatant neglect of its sense of duty. At home, lack of pubic awareness and political resolve of successive governments, failure of government and NGOs working for environment protection to work in a coordinated manner and political instability are mainly to be blamed for the country’s failure to meet its environmental goals. It is a collective responsibility of all those inhabiting the planet to ensure that the future generation bequeaths a clean and safe planet. Nepal too must realise its obligation towards its citizens and generations yet to be born.