National

Pond turned into a dumping site threatens wildlife

- SHIVA PURI, RAUTAHAT

Mar 6, 2019-

In a forest north to Paschim Lachka in Chandrapur Municipality-4, Rautahat, lies a small pond. The forest has long been home to various wild animals, and the pond their watering hole. However, for a good part of the past year, the pond has turned into a dumping ground for the people of Chandrapur Municipality.

This practice of dumping garbage in the pond, the Division Forest Office (DFO) in Chandranigahapur claims, has gravely affected the wildlife in the area. Binod Singh, chief at the DFO, said that the municipality did not coordinate with the division office regarding the use of the area to dump garbage.

“Wildlife including deer, wild boar, monkey, blue bull, tiger drink water from the pond and live in the surrounding forest. The garbage dumped by the municipality has affected the animals adversely,” said Singh. He said that the division office would soon set an inquiry to look into the matter.

The municipality built a dumping site in a forest near the East-West Highway at Chandrapur-6 two years ago. However, following protests from locals, the municipality was compelled to close the dumping site a year ago. The municipal authority has since then been using the pond as a dumping ground.

The water in the pond is polluted and the size of the pond itself is shrinking due to the garbage dump, according to locals. Conservationists are of the opinion that the garbage and increased human activities in the area has also affected the habitat. “Wild animals may fall sick by consuming the non-degradable poisonous trash that fills the pond. Authorities must put a stop to this,” said Nurendra Aryal, former assistant warden at Chitwan National Park (CNP).

Several wild animals like rhinos, elephants, tigers, leopards, snakes, among others, visit the forest area from Parsa National Park and the CNP. An endangered one-horned rhino from the CNP had entered the Gaidatar area in the district two years ago. The rhino was rescued and taken to Chitwan after poachers shot and critically injured the beast. The rhino later died in the course of treatment.

When asked, the municipality administration admitted to dumping garbage in the pond and its surrounding areas. Riddhi Prasad Sitaula, chief administrative officer at the municipality, said that the municipality has been using the forest area as a dumping site and will continue to do so until an alternative is found. “We have been dumping garbage in the forest for the past one year. The DFO has not informed us so far about the adverse effect it has on wildlife habitat,” said Sitaula, adding that the municipality does not have any immediate plans to shift the garbage site from the forest area.

Published: 06-03-2019 08:16

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