Call for urgent action to fight air pollution and climate change

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 8, 2018-

Rising air pollution and climate change are the major environmental threats to the country, participants of the Environment Conference 2018 said on Sunday.

They called for a joint and immediate effort to fight against these threats.

Environmentalists, policy makers, government officials and representatives from various non-governmental agencies were present in the day-long conference organised by the Department of Environment in Kathmandu.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who inaugurated the conference, said, “Rising population and unchecked urbanisation have emerged as challenges to environment protection. There should be an all out effort from all sides to stop climate change.”

“On one hand, climate change has intensified drought, forest fire and other extreme climatic events, causing disasters. And on the other hand, rapid snow melting has turned our mountains grey, which can have serious impact on our tourism industry,” she added, calling for an urgent need for environment protection programmes.  

 

Arnico Panday, atmospheric scientist for the International Center for Integrated Mountaineering Development (ICIMOD), said the country could still improve its air quality with sectoral and behavioural changes.

“Nepal is not the only country to face the problem of air pollution. We need to switch to electric vehicles, invest in public transports, among other immediate measures, to reduce pollution. We must have a collective approach,”

he said.

Participants at the programme also raised their concern over waste management problem in urban areas.

Bhushan Tuladhar, technical advisor of UN-HABITAT South Asia, said poor air quality, municipal solid waste, shrinking open spaces, decreasing greenery in cities and water pollution were some of the major environmental problems faced by urban areas.

“We have to scale up sustainable waste management practices. We had a good urban management practice, but now we are inviting vehicles at the cost of encroaching public spaces and footpath,” he said.

“Leadership of local governments, ownership of communities and participations of stakeholders can be instrumental in dealing with these problems.”

Published: 08-10-2018 07:32

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