TOPICS:A blue moon may rise

Outgoing Minister for General Administration Pampha Bhusal participated in a Bagmati river cleaning campaign organized to mark the 120th International May Day. Earlier, well-known Vaidyaraj Acharya Balkrishna too participated in a similar campaign to clean the paradoxically ‘dirty

and holy’ river meandering through Kathmandu. In the past, similar campaigns have been carried out to give Bagmati a cleaner avatar but all efforts have ended in smoke, including on the crematorium stretch adjacent to Pashupatinath. As of now, Bagmati feeds on the city’s sewage.

The obvious inference is that such sporadic and perfunctory campaigns, even with ministers or public figures participating, will not ameliorate the revered river’s destiny. The crux of the problem is the wanton throw of plastic and papers: at Sundarijal (by merrymaking picnickers from the valley), around Pashupatinath (by the holier-than-thou pilgrims) and along the banks (by all Kathmanduites).

Picnickers: Visit the site around

Sundarijal reservoir on any weekend; one will have the impression that

the merrymakers love playing the weird game of throwing plastic and paper. Obviously, all these papers and plastic come downstream, especially during the monsoon.

Pilgrims: The deal of dirt they offer to Pashupatinath is blasphemous and unforgivable by Lord Shiva Himself. Go to the holy site on any festival day and the whole area is littered with polythene bags. On face, pilgrims make everlasting offerings - plastic bags can last as long as 400 years —

to the most venerated deity, perhaps also on behalf of their descendants. Why offer only fruits and flowers that rot in no time? As for the city-dwellers, all is obvious. The message becomes louder and clearer when one sees the Metropolis’ empty garbage containers: what they are cracked up to contain is often all around except inside. Are garbage throwers visually challenged? The majority of them seem to be, at least in the metropolis.

Ministers and other public figures have perhaps a more important role to play in raising awareness on sanitary ground than in participating in such once-in-a-blue-moon campaigns to clean Bagmati. Else, the sky may someday see a blue moon, while the earth will still have an unholy Bagmati flowing on her holy bosom.