Officials plan activities for Valley clean-up drive

In addition to the ongoing campaign to improve the Bagmati river ecosystem and surrounding environment, authorities concerned have decided to carry out various activities to clean up the Kathmandu valley.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers on Wednesday held a meeting to decide on activities aimed at cleaning the Bagmati river, its surroundings and other areas, including wards, tol and municipal spaces, in the Valley. The meeting was participated by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal and representatives of concerned ministries and departments.

The meeting took various decisions, including construction of public toilets at 400 places in the Valley under public-private partnership, legal action against those found guilty of dumping waste outside their houses and shops, organising clean-up drive on May 15 with the participation of over 100,000 volunteers and directing local bodies to come up with plans and programmes to carry out sanitation campaigns on a regular and sustainable basis.

Likewise, the meeting also decided to declare the Bagmati river section from Sundarijal to Manohara confluence free from drainage discharge and the Sundarijal-Sinamangal section free from encroachment on May 19. The officials also decided to direct the concerned municipalities in Sundarijal and Gokarna areas to form committees to organise clean-up drive in Hanumante and Manohara rivers. The government in collaboration with over 900 organisations has been cleaning up the Bagmati river since 2013. The campaign is marking its 102nd week on April 25.

1,400 kg of polythene bags seized in nine days

KATHMANDU: Officials at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment said they have already confiscated around 1,400 kilograms of polyethylene bags after the government announced a ban on the use of such bags thinner than 40 micron on April 14 in the Valley.

Organising a press meet on Thursday, the officials said they also inspected 700 retail shops, 28 department stores and vegetable shops in various areas in the Valley in the past nine days.

“On Thursday alone, our staffers collected seven quintals of polyethylene bags from various areas in the Valley,” said Suroj Pokhrel, the director general at the Department of Environment. They also said they are preparing to take action against Regmi Plastic Factory and Adhikari Plastic Factory in Kalimati, Raki Plastic Store and RK Plastic Store in Ason, Raju Shrestha of Bangemuda, Prabin Shrestha of Ason, Thanapati Traders in Lagankhel, Saleways Department Store in Pulchok and vendors Hari Khadka and Dhruba Timalsena for acting against the government announcement. Pokhrel, however, said they are yet to decide on the nature of action against the offenders. The government has announced that it will fine offenders as much as Rs 50,000 under the Environment Protection Act 1997. Govinda Prasad Kharel, under secretary at the ministry, said people have to seek alternatives as plastic bags have been enforced. Meanwhile, plastic manufacturers, factory employees and traders staged demonstrations in front of the Department at Kupandole and submitted a memorandum to the officials concerned, demanding alternatives of plastic bags and their job security.

Source: eKantipur