Statement by the Climate and Development Dialogue on the Occasion of World Environment Day
5th June 2018
Skewed focus on rapid economic development has since long pushed environmental issues to the back burner leading to multiple crises of unprecedented dimensions. This holds true for Nepal as well. The deteriorating air quality, unclean water and intolerable sound pollution are reducing the quality of life, especially in the urban areas. Over congestion of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, unplanned urbanization, unregulated industrial pollution and uncontrolled application of chemical pesticides in crops and vegetables are putting the lives of people at great risk. Human-induced pollution of these kinds is not limited to human settlements; it has started severely affecting pristine forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, mountains and oceans, thereby jeopardizing the flora, fauna and the entire ecosystems. There is a clear need for greater awareness and actions on environmental protection.
The United Nations started observing ‘World Environment Day’ since 1974 with a special focus on addressing urgent environmental concerns. Every year a new theme is chosen. The theme for 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Overuse of plastics has become a real threat to humans and the environment around the world including Nepal. On this occasion of ‘World Environment Day’, members of the Climate and Development Dialogue (C&D Dialogue) and the undersigned strongly demand that the Government of Nepal consider the following actions in order to address plastic pollution and protect the environment as a whole.
- Plastics have become a big problem in the country, especially ones that cannot be recycled or are made for single use. Plastics have been a huge source of water and air pollution, including blockage of drainage systems. In April 2015, the Government of Nepal banned the import, storage, sale, distribution and use of 20 x 35 inches - plastic with up to ‘40 micron’ thickness in the Kathmandu Valley. However, these measures have not been strictly followed. The government should introduce and strictly implement a stringent policy to ban the non-recyclable plastics and single-use plastic bags throughout the country.
- Air, water and noise pollution is posing detrimental impacts on human health. According to the latest global Environment Performance Index, Nepal ranks 176th, one of the least performing among the 180 countries. Similarly, according to Green City Index (GCI), the international standard for noise pollution is 60 decibels, but in the case of Nepal, especially in the urban areas, it is higher than 80 decibels. It is urgent that these issues become the priority of the Government of Nepal. While enforcing already existing policies like vehicle emission standards, the government should further introduce regulatory measures to control air, water and noise pollution. Raising awareness for behaviour change and promotion of sustainable consumption and production is the country’s urgent need of the hour.
- Greenery, public parks and open space have greatly shrunk in the urban areas over time. It is internationally recommended that Metropolitan Cities should have at least 40% of the area covered by trees and greenery, however, in the case of Kathmandu Valley greenery has been squeezed to a mere nine per cent of the Valley area. There is an urgent need to plant trees along the roadside, make space for open and green areas and build public parks in the urban areas throughout the country.
- Development actions such as building infrastructure, housing, industrial area and other efforts that bring social and economic benefits must be environmentally friendly. Thorough Initial Environmental Examinations (IEE) and Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) must be made mandatory and implemented for all the projects as envisioned by the Environment Protection Act. Further, Environmental Management Plan (EMP) must be implemented as suggested by IEE and EIA processes for these projects.
- Climate change impacts have become a new threat to the sustainable development of the country. It urgently calls for investment in climate resilient and low carbon development pathway with concrete policies and actions, especially, focusing on the poor and vulnerable communities, including mountain peoples.
- The Government should make the right policy choices as laid out in the constitution of Nepal 2015, to address environmental and climate change issues and strengthen environmental governance in the country.
- Action Aid Nepal
- Dan Church Aid (DCA Nepal)
- DidiBahini Nepal
- HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Nepal
- HIMAWANTI Nepal
- Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre (KIRDARC)
- Practical Action Nepal
- Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC)
- TEWA – Philanthropy for Equitable Justice and Peace
- The Mountain Institute (TMI)
For Further Information:
Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC)
Narayan Gopal Chowk, Kathmandu
Climate and Development Dialogue (C&D Dialogue) is an informal common platform of non-government stakeholders that facilitates dialogues and exchange of knowledge and learning on the interrelations between climate change, development and gender equality. It also works to bridge the knowledge gap on thse areas between the national and local levels and generate collective actions for policy interventions.