This refers to the news report “Students studying amid toxic waste in Amlekhgunj” (THT, Dec 4). Out of 75 metric tons of pesticides stored in different parts of the country (Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj, Kathmandu, Ghorahi, Janakpur), around 51 metric tons are stored in Amhlekhgunj alone. These pesticides had been donated by Japan, USA, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Switzerland since 1950s for the malaria eradication programme. The use of most of these pesticides has already been banned in the developed countries like the US and the EU. Owing to their lipophilic nature, such pesticides
affect the central nervous system, cause acute and chronic toxicity and may cause cancers, birth defects, nervous system and brain damage and development problems in children.
Nepal has signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants which calls for an immediate ban, withdrawal, retrieval and containment of a host of man-made
poisons, which include Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Lindane and organochlorine pesticides like DDT, Dieldrin, Endrin, Aldrin, Chlordane, Mirex, Toxaphene and Heptachlor. As we do not have the means to effectively store the pesticides, the government should ask the donor
countries help get rid of them.
Dr Sital Kaji Shrestha, India
This is in reference to the edit page article “Local governance: Donor tinkering a menace” (THT, Dec 4). While reflecting upon my work experiences with the donor organizations, I must agree with the writer that they still function using the power of the purse rather than designing and implementing development programmes consistent with the ground reality. Unless the management and accountability of rural level projects lies with the local level beneficiaries, the outcome of such projects is bound to be questionable. The concept and application of “user group” in rural projects have been extremely successful in terms of empowering the local communities and improving management capabilities. Giving the local stakeholders a sense of ownership and making them accountable directly or indirectly ensures sustainability of projects. When these realities are overlooked, projects are bound to deliver unsatisfactory results. Let us not ignore that “empowerment” is the objective of community development projects.
Rai Biren Bangdel, Losal, Maharajgunj
Apropos of the news report “Students studying amid toxic waste in Amlekhgunj” (THT, Dec 3), it is shocking to learn that the local authorities have turned a blind eye even as students run the risk of serious health hazards. The local authorities must make up for its folly by removing them to safe sites.
Rhea Gurung, Jawalakhel
In spite of the tall claims made by Home Minister Bamdev Gautam, there has been no decrease in criminal activities in the country. The Maoist youth wing, as is reported in the local media, seems to be enjoying impunity for its crimes. The government must punish the guilty, whoever they may be.