Volunteers of the Clean Bagmati Campaign removed 26 metric tonnes of waste from the Pashupati-Gaurighat section of the river on Saturday, targeting the upcoming Mahashivaratri festival.
Over 2,000 participants, including civil servants, Nepal Army and Armed Police Force personnel, artists, Pashupati Area Development Trust employees and representatives of various organisations, took part in the 92th weekly clean-up drive.
Sitaram Kattel “Dhurmus” and Kunjana Ghimire “Suntali”, who were appointed Sanitation Brand Ambassadors by the Cabinet this week, were also present in the campaign. “This is the first time we are joining this campaign though we have already made an awareness programme about river sanitation,” Kattel said.
The campaign was started in March 18, 2013 from the Pashupatinath area under the leadership of Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudyal. “People are more aware of sanitation now and our campaign has proved really fruitful,” Poudyal said.
The participation of local people increased after Nepal Telecom started sending text messages asking people to join in campaign. “When we started the campaign, we were in doubt that we will come to this stage. It is getting really bigger,” PADT Member Secretary Govinda Tandon said. Krishna Kandel, a folk song programme presenter, entertained participants with his impromptu lines of songs.
Sadhus, who have already arrived in the Pashupatinath area to celebrate Mahashivaratri, were watching people clean the river. “The river is cleaner now. Now, we can take a holy bath without hesitation,” said S Giri, a 38-year-old sadhu who came to Kathmandu from Gujrat three days ago. “It is the duty of Nepali citizens to keep Mata Bagmati clean and cleanliness of the river also reflects the cleanliness of human heart.”
So far 10 kilometers stretch of the river has already cleaned and more than 200,000 people have participated in the drive since its inception.