Parties stress on pollution control

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Nov 9, 2017-

Pollution control has been one of the key components, among other environmental issues, in the manifestos of major political parties going into the federal and provincial elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.  

In their poll documents,  the major parties have pledged to introduce measures to check environmental pollution that has been increasing in recent times in major cities of the country, including  Kathmandu. 

The Nepali Congress (NC) has said that it will be working to minimise pollution in Kathmandu and other major cities of the country, emanating from various sources like vehicles and industries. 

“The party will be encouraging the use of innovative technologies by discarding old vehicles with high emissions, adapting measures to control dust emanating from road expansion and penalising those burning garbage,” says the NC manifesto, which is reminiscent of a proposal tabled at Parliament by its leader and former health minister Gagan Thapa. 

His proposal had sought a ban on sales and distribution of petol and diesel vehicles in  the country in the next 10 years. 

It had proposed a prohibit ion on sale of petroleum vehicles in the Valley by 2027 and countrywide by 2031, and replace them with electric vehicles. However, the NC manifesto does not mention the exact timeframe and the procedures required for achieving that objective. 

Not to be outdone, the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), which have forged a left alliance, has promised that replacing those vehicles within two years of their coming to power. 

Environmentalists, however, remain sceptical of the parties’ vows. 

“The parties’ promises to remove petroleum-run vehicles within the next two years is beyond my comprehension. Phasing out hundreds of thousands of vehicles is easier said than done,” said Bhushan Tuladhar, an environmentalist and technical advisor for South Asia, UN-Habitat

“Their proposal to discard fossil fuel-run vehicles from Kathmandu Valley is similar to the one tabled at Parliment by ex-minister Thapa, which had a 10-year deadline. 

That plan itself, while being feasible to me, looked difficult to implement.” 

Calling the parties’ agendas too far-fetched, Tuladhar said: “It’s normal for political parties to make ambitious claims in their poll manifestos. But these ones are not realistic. And they haven’t mentioned a concrete plan to implement their plans.” 

Their documents also contain other towering promises of infrastructure development, overhauling economy and jacking up country’s ranking on par with developed nations as well as other environmental issues.

The NC has dedicated a separate section for forest, environment and disaster management in its 84-page manifesto, while the left alliance has allotted as much space in their joint document, under the heading ‘Environment and Natural Resources Conservation.’ 

Both sets of manifestos feature forest, bio-diversity and wildlife conservation as well as ensuring public’s access to natural resources, promotion of eco-tourism, agriculture, community-based forestry and measures to mitigate impacts of climate change as their common agendas. 

Pledging to maintain a minimum 45 percent forest cover in the country, the left alliance’s manifesto says, should it come to power the will have special programmes dedicated to Chure Range, establishing free public toilets, sustainable garbage management and banning the use of plastic bags.

The NC manifesto has also said prioritised forest management, promotion of forest-based industry by easing out legal constraints, Chure conservation among others. 

The NC has stressed on mitigation of effects of climate change through increased participation at different levels, and encouraging the use of clean energy resources 

like wind, solar and hydropower energy.

Published: 09-11-2017 07:47

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