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Nepal State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, March, 2014

Nepal has achieved a new milestone in conservation by achieving ‘zero poaching’ of rhinos, tigers and elephants for the year period ending in February 2014, according to the World Wildlife Fund Nepal. Read more in this March 2014 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Nepal.

LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE

The Himalayan Shangri-La Tea Producers Pvt. Ltd has provided organic certificates certified by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture (NASA), Australia (NASA) to 422 tea farmers of Ilam district in Nepal, engaged in production, processing and distribution of organic tea for long. A dairy farm project has been opened in Kumroj, eastern Chitwan of Nepal, with an objective of making it as a research centre for developing hybrid cows.

MINING

Over a dozen illegal stone quarries are operational at Manjhphat and Baskharka, the north VDCs of Parbat in Nepal. Keeping in view the damage to the Chure region, the local administration in Udayapur in Nepal has banned mining of river products from the Triyuga and Baruwa rivers.

WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES

Almost two decades after the discovery of arsenic, a poisonous metal in water, in groundwater at Kunuwar settlement in Ramgram Municipality-12, Nawalparasi in Nepal, around 200 households still consume the water. According to Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office in Nawalparasi, around 50ppb arsenic is considered drinkable in Nepal. However, there is not a single tube well in the settlement that contains less than 200 ppb arsenic.

DAMS

Two hydro projects in Lamjung with capacity of more than 100 MW that have license to export electricity generated in Nepal to India, have expressed willingness to sell power for five months during the winter season, in Nepal. The 282 MW Manang Marsyangdi and 138 MW Upper Marsyangdi-1 hydro projects have shown eagerness to sell electricity to Nepal during winter. In recent times the trend in Sindhuli has been to form drinking water consumers’ committees and to propose micro hydro projects so to bag government grants as well as assistance from donor agencies. The Thadokoshi Hydropower Project based at Chaurikharka-3 in Solukhumbu, the mountainous district of eastern Nepal, has been completed.

FORESTS

A huge expanse of barren land at Hanumannagar in Haraiya-9, Rupandehi in Nepal, has turned into lush green Santi Srijana community forest after eight years, thanks to relentless efforts of local women. Of the 70 community forests in Rupandehi, seven are under the management and conservation of women. Forest fire in various community forests in Parsa of Nepal, as well as in the jungle falling under the Chitwan National Park continues to rage three days after it began.

POLLUTION

Hetauda Cement Industry in Nepal, which has been spewing a lot of dust after its machine to control harmful emissions went defunct, has alarmed locals. The Bagmati River clean up campaign in Nepal completed its 42 weeks. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) in Nepal  is preparing to send a proposal mandating old public vehicle owners to get rid of their vehicles within two years to the Cabinet for approval within a month. Old vehicles that have been in operation for more than 20 years possess the risk of road accidents and are also a major reason behind air pollution, according to MoPIT.

HABITAT

The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group has agreed to provide US $ 150 million assistance to the Nepal government for implementation of two different infrastructure programmes. Kathmandu is among the least expensive out of 131 cities across 93 nations, according to Worldwide Cost of Living 2014 published by Economist Intelligence Unit. Nepal’s travel and tourism sector directly supported 504,000 jobs in 2013.
 

WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Settlements in the northern belt of Siraha district in Nepal, are facing an acute shortage of water these days due to the desertification in the Chure hill range. According to the date of Drinking Water and Sanitation Coordination Committee in Achham district of Nepal, only 25 per cent of the district’s population have access to clean drinking water. A sanitation commando team has been mobilized to help declare the Bajhang district of Nepal, as 'open-defecation free' zone by mid-April 2014.

PEOPLE

The Nepal Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) is mulling over conducting a survey of people living below the poverty line in 50 additional districts to expedite the process of distributing identity cards to poor households.

HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS

As many as 44 elephantiasis infected patients have been detected in Ilam district of Nepal. As many as 116 patients have been found suffering from tuberculosis (TB) in Tanahun district of Nepal in this fiscal year. About 24 per cent of the children in Rajbiraj district of Nepal are suffering from malnutrition. Nepal is declared polio-free by the World Health Organization, for maintaining polio-free status for the last three years. Three years ago, on August 30, a 22-month baby girl from Rautahat was the last case to be diagnosed with polio.

PESTICIDES AND HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS           

For proper management of pesticides in Nepal, the Pesticide Registration and Management Division (PRMD), under the Ministry of Agricultural Development, is preparing a database related to pesticides from the current fiscal year. Majority of paints analysed in seven Asian countries, including Nepal, contained astonishingly high lead content and did not meet the international regulatory standards, according to the Asian Regional Paint Report, 2014.

ENERGY

Durbarmarg in central Kathmandu in Nepal, has witnessed a metamorphosis as solar powered lamps have been installed. The joint effort of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Durbarmarg Development Board (DDB) has proved of note. “The major work of construction has been completed, as the poles with twin lights have been planted,” said Bimal Rijal, chief of the Urban Development Committee at KMC.

LIVING RESOURCES

Nepal has achieved a new milestone in conservation by achieving ‘zero poaching’ of rhinos, tigers and elephants for the year period ending in February 2014, according to the World Wildlife Fund Nepal. More than 100 households near Bhutandevi Temple in Hetauda, Makawanpur in Nepal, have fallen victims to monkey menace since long. The Chitwan National Park in Nepal, has started pre-fire campaign to protect wildlife in the conservation area.