Nepal State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, November , 2014

As many as 7.95 million Nepalis still defecate in the open such as bushes and field, according to a study conducted by the Department of Water, Supply and Sanitation. Read more in November 2014 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Nepal.

Failure to tackle serious impacts of climate change would aggravate poverty and risk investment by private sector in mountain countries said Dr Govinda Raj Pokhrel, Vice Chairperson of National Planning Commission (NPC) who inaugurated an international conference on ´Mountain People Adapting to Change´, jointly organized by the Nepal government and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on 9-12 November,  in Kathmandu. During the 20th session of the Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled to be held in Lima, Peru, on December 1-12, Nepal, as the chair of Least Developed Countries (LDC) bloc, will seek the needed interventions to address the growing concerns of mountain communities due to climate change, revealed government officials at the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment (MoSTE). Amid deep concerns over South Asia as one of the most vulnerable regions for climate change, most of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC) state heads have pledged to focus and tackle the issue of climate change. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of SAARC in Nepal, leaders of the South Asian nations stressed the need of joint efforts to tackle this global issue.

In a bid to encourage organic farming across the country, the Nepal  government is mulling over extending 25 per cent extra funds to  Village Development Committees (VDCs) on top of whatever they are spending on agriculture, if they engage in organic farming. The Nepal government is all set to provide an additional 70 per cent compensation of the amount provided earlier to poultry farms that were hit hard by the bird flu epidemic last year.

At a time the Nepal government has planned to control illegal mining and quarrying in the southern plains in view of the deteriorating ecosystem, the crusher industrialists in the Morang district have continued illegal mining. Recently, the resource management committee and the crusher operators in the district had agreed not to excavate more than one and half metre for stones and rubbles, but the crusher operators are digging deeper for stones at Khadam River area.

The Cabinet in Nepal, approved final draft of the Project Development Agreement on 900MW Arun-III hydroelectric project, paving way for the Investment Board Nepal and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, the project developer, to sign the final agreement. The Supreme Court has ordered against issuing an interim order in the power development agreement reached in connection with the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. Hydroelectricity has been generated from the Shey Phoksundo Lake based in Phoksundo VDC in upper Dolpa with the use of new technology. A five-kilowatt hydropower project has been constructed at Rigmo Village with the financial assistance of the World Wildlife Fund and technical assistance of Canada and the United States of America. The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group has agreed to provide an additional assistance of Rs 4.53 billion (equivalent to 46 million US dollars) to the Government of Nepal for the implementation of Kabeli-A Hydropower Project. The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has directed the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) and the Ministry of Energy (MoE) to come up with a common view on development of West Seti hydro project within a month.

As many as 35 families at Seri Gaun of Alital VDC-8 in Dadeldhura district of Nepal have planted grass and bamboo in arable lands to save their village from landslips and flash floods. Archakhanchi District Forest Office (DFO) in Nepal, and the Presidential Chure Tarai Madhes Conservation Committee have failed to control timber smuggling from Chure forest that spreads across eight VDCs, including Simalpani, Siddhwara and Thada, in the district. A two-day meeting organised by the Saarc Forestry Centre, Bhutan and the Tribhuwan University Institute of Forestry (TUIoF) in Pokhara between experts regarding the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) for the management of forest area within the Saarc region concluded in Nepal.

Thousands of farmers in Mugu district of Nepal,  are demanding relief from the government after a hailstorm damaged all their crops on October 25. As the number of flood victims in Banke has grown higher than initially estimated, compensating all the victims would require an additional Rs 40.25 million, according to the Natural Disaster Rescue and Relief Committee, Banke.

With the objective of increasing investment in country´s infrastructure sector, the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) is organizing Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2014 in Kathmandu. Minister for Physical  Infrastructure and Transport, Bimalendra Nidhi , has said the Nepal government would bring a new plan to reduce growing road accidents.

The Legislature-Parliament's Development Committee directed the Nepal government to finish work on the Melamchi Water Supply Project by April 13, 2016. The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide loan assistance of Rs 5.78 billion and grant assistance of Rs 127.4 million to Nepal for the implementation of Third Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Nepal. Investment Board has decided to deliver the responsibility of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for the long-term management of solid waste in Kathmandu Valley to two international private companies. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City, in collaboration with Kathmandu denizens,  organised a massive cleanup campaign in all 35 wards of the metropolis, in view of the 18th SAARC Summit scheduled for November 26-27 in Kathmandu. As many as 7.95 million Nepalis still defecate in the open such as bushes and field, according to a study conducted by the Department of Water, Supply and Sanitation. According to its report, 30 percent of the total 24.5 million people lack access to toilet--a basic facility. Poor sanitation and unsafe water cause diarrhoea, leading to around 8,000 deaths of children below five each year. With strict implementation of defecation free zone provision, people of Bajura have witnessed incredible change in sanitation, of late. As the Bajura  district is going to be declared open defecation free zone on November 20, district residents have proposed to slap a fine of up to Rs 3,000 fine on each rule violator.

In Nepal, despite various precautionary measures such as anti-mosquito spray and fumigation campaign, patients suffering from Dengue in Birgunj sub-metropolis are on the rise. The World Health Organisation said that nearly 87 million people in South-East Asia Region live with diabetes and the problem has been growing with half of those suffering from the disease are yet to be diagnosed. WHO’s South-East Asia Region includes Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.  The Nepal government will be introducing pneumococcal vaccine from January to fight against pneumonia, one of the major causes of child mortality in the country.

 In Nepal, according to Dilli Ram Sharma, programme director at the Plant Protection Department (PPD), the supply of poisoned farm produces from various parts of the country to Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market (KFVM) decreased by almost 95 percent after the Rapid Pesticide Residue Analysis was launched on June 18. Right after the programme was launched, the study from June 18 to July 17 found that nearly 14 percent of the vegetables supplied to the KFVM contained a high level of pesticides residue making them unfit for consumption. Of the total 187 samples tested during the period, 26 were found contaminated with harmful chemicals responsible for affecting nervous system. Similarly, the test done between October 18 and November 17 revealed that none of the 109 samples of farm produces tested positive for containing harmful pesticides, PPD officials said. The number of samples with pesticides residue has decreased to one or two compared with 26 in the first month of the campaign, Bhandari said. In the past five months, a total of 710 vegetable and fruit samples were tested by the country’s only lab established inside the Kalimati market.

The number of people using biogas has risen in Kanchanpur district of Nepal, marking a 14 percent growth in the running Fiscal Year. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a co-financing agreement to fund the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power Expansion Project, which will address problems faced by Nepal’s energy sector.

A census of tigers began at the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal,  with a camera tracking system. Rampant poaching of animals in the jungles of Morang in Nepal,  has posed a threat of extinction to wildlife.

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