Contamination Of Environment

Anish Ghimire

The term “pollution” is not a new phenomenon and hardly ever needs an explanation if you are from Kathmandu. More like the water we drink, and the oxygen we breathe, pollution is also a habitual part of our existence. The contaminated environment of ours, which has been quoted as unsafe by the WHO, is now a habitual part of our lives. This norm has become so prevalent that we hardly ever notice it.
We seldom consider how unsafe our environment is. We have ample environmental issues that are yet to be addressed. Such issues not only contaminate our physical health but also our emotional wellbeing.

Air Pollutants

Top of the list is air pollution. Perhaps the most obvious sign of environmental contamination in Kathmandu and throughout Nepal is air pollution. Since 2016, our Himalayan nation is seeing the worst possible toxicity in the air. In the rankings for the worst air quality, we are in 12th position. A whopping 35,000 people die annually in Nepal from breathing contaminated air.

This is not a negligible number. Certainly not the data that we can just glance at. The unpaved roads, overcrowding of vehicles, smoke, wildfires, and lots more are responsible for this catastrophe. Especially in the case of Kathmandu, being a valley, the pollutants are trapped having no way to escape. Only heavy rainfall, in most cases, acts as an aid for the thick pollution. The result of this is an itchy nose, red eyes, and contaminated air getting in our lungs. It is so bad that, at its peak, schools and colleges had to be closed in April 2021.

Coming later in the list is water pollution. The disposal of industrial and domestic waste has made our once pristine rivers into a dumping site. Due to the lack of a proper garbage disposal system, the river and its banks have become a target area for contamination. Previously, our Bagmati River used to be so pristine that fish used to swim there. After performing a quick decantation process, that water was drinkable. Witnessing its current adversity, it is past my imagination how the Bagmati River used to be. It is just tragic.

The other environmental issue is an unmanaged waste. Seeing garbage dumped on the side of the road is not a new thing in Kathmandu. We have become so habitual to it that, whenever we see it, we say “oh, it’s just another garbage on the road,” To think in such a way gives us an idea of how bad waste management is.

That leaves a stain on our identity. People buy things from stores and throw wrappers on the road. We have no dustbins or proper way to store the garbage emerging from the streets. The result of that is we have garbage on the sidewalks, on the main roads, streets, and many more areas where it hinders the environment. Such circumstances can contaminate the environment.

Deforestation has been punishing us every year Notably, at the time of the monsoon. Between 2002 and 2021, Nepal lost 8.1% of its trees. In the name of “development activities”, our trees face a massive threat. Moreover, such activity of ours punishes the innocent. Many people lose their life, became injured, and became estranged overnight. I cannot imagine the pain and agony such victims go through. About time, enough attention was received in such catastrophes.

Toxic Air

So, how long should we be paying taxes by breathing toxic air? When will we receive our primary right? Because according to the constitution of 2015, a clean and healthy environment was guaranteed to the people of Nepal as their primary right. Our primary rights have been promised but have not been given to us.

If we do not conserve our environment, our existence will be at risk. Every year, our climate is getting worse. Not only here, but all around the world. Immense floods, landslides, and lethal forest fires are happening all around the globe. We are right now at a very critical stage. In addition, if we don’t get our head straight in such a grave period then there is a very dark future awaiting us.

Authorities and people should acquire an awareness of the milieu that we breathe in. Moral values from the people are deeply required. Strict rules and regulations from the government are in demand here. It is not too late to turn around from this downhill spin. There is still time to rescue our environment. There is still time to rescue ourselves.

Source : TRN,