TOPICS: Problems to address

A few months back, it was all over the news that Kathmandu has become one of the most polluted cities in the world.

While I am quite sure that our highly receptive government did catch on to the news, I saw no effort that was significant enough to resolve this problem – nothing significant enough to actually bring about the kind of change that such a dire situation calls for.

Allow me to point out how several cities across the world have appointed the alternative license plate policy that we too adopted a few months ago.

The only major difference between Nepal and these countries that I see has been motive – while these countries are making an effort to prevent air pollution and cut down on carbon emissions, we did it as we had no fuel to burn (or what was available on the black market was much too expensive.)

If we look into the heart of the matter our actions were not driven by anything even remotely close to concerns for the degrading environment; if anything, our motives were almost selfish.

Now that fuel is flowing freely again, there is no such rule, and the murky skies and polluted air leave much to be desired of Kathmandu air. But I digress.

The government deserves a lot of finger-wagging right now for taking no authoritative steps to alleviate this problem. On top of reconstruction that has been pending for over a year, power-cuts that still plague the population and a thousand other unaddressed problems, we now have air pollution.

However, the government that has not even done anything to address this glaring problem is now in fact cutting down trees. Yes.

The tall, beautiful trees that once adorned the sidewalks of Chakrapath and gave me a bit of hope that the former glory of my hometown may be restored have been cut down.

All for the “expansion” of a road that the government, again, was supposed to have taken charge ages ago. This was a simply atrocious and thoughtless act and I cannot even begin to express how hurt I am by this flagrant abandonment of all common sense by our dear government.

This brings me to posit that we as citizens have been no better.

Educated people of Kathmandu see nothing wrong with using their broken-down cars, spewing vast amounts of toxic gases into the air rather than using the buses.

If I remember correctly, there was a clause in our highly practicable constitution that gave us the right to a clean environment.

I challenge the government to do something about this.