Thursday, May 12, 2005

Valley environment turning better

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, May 12:
Residents of Kathmandu Valley, rejoice! The air pollution in the valley is literally decreasing, according to reports. Increasing environmental awareness has wrought this pleasant change.
The government’s weekly report states that the air quality of the valley is getting
better, with fewer amounts of dust particles.
At the beginning of the year, air pollution level crossed more than 600 micrograms of particulate matter smaller than 10 micrograms per cubic metre in January. But, last week’s report has recorded 294 micrograms as the highest mark.
Nepal’s ambient air quality standard is 120 micrograms per cubic metres. Kathmandu Valley has six monitoring stations — Putali Sadak, Matsya Gaon, Kirtipur, Bhaktapur, Thamel and Patan Hospital — which continuously record and analyse the data.
In the first week of January, Patan recorded 579, which fell to 191 in the first week of May. Similarly, Thamel’s 481 climbed down to 76, Bhaktapur’s 287 to 87, Kirtipur’s 318 to 55, Matysgaon’s 120 to 33. And Pultali Sadak, that recorded 633 in January now provides no data but the last available, that of March, states it recorded 207 micrograms. Robin Man Shrestha, chief of Urban Environment Section, said the positive change was a result of people’s awareness about the environment and hazards to it. “We are doing OK. But a lot still has to be done to make Kathmandu really pollution-free,” he said.
Bhushan Tuladhar, executive director, Clean Energy Nepal, said on an average the air
pollution had decreased by 6 per cent but there was still scant reason to be happy with the reports of the air quality monitoring.
“The air quality is improving, but we need to acsertain that the Valley conditions are free from danger before concluding that anti-pollution drives are bearing fruit.”
Tuladhar conceded that the fact that the air quality of Bhaktapur had improved by 15 per cent. “The main reason for this is the removal of old-style brick kilns.
It demonstrates that a minor decision of the government on account of public pressure has made a dramatic difference.
Published: May 12, 2005 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Child clubs flourishing

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, April 4:
Shanti Tamang, a sixth grader of Sharma Rashtirya High School, has more things to do than just go to school and complete her home work. These days, she is planning a three-day training for her fellow club members on child-to-child behaviour.
“I’m confident that I can train my friends on how to behave with another child and expect the same from him or her,” she said. She said the three-day training includes different tactics for behaviour change and leadership development.
Tamang is one of the over 30 members of Bal Bikas Child Club at Chucchepati. All the members have different talents and the club has provided them with a platform for competitive performance for the past five years. The members, aged eight to 14, spend around two hours at the club on Fridays and discuss contemporary issues from the children’s perspective.
The club is one among the over 7,000 child clubs working in a loose network for child development throughout the country. Shyam Ghimire, 14, the chairman of the club, said children enjoy free interaction when there is no “adult” intervention or control and encourage one another to build a new, rights-based vision.
“We enjoy imagining our own world and work to make the world suitable for us. Through our songs, poems and dramas, we remind the adults what our rights are,” he said.
The members also visit other child clubs and interact with them. Occasional interaction with parents and adults provide them an opportunity to disclose practical problems they may face in an orthodox society.
Sushi Acharya, a facilitator at Bal Bikash Samaj, an NGO working in the field of child rights, says the child clubs have become very useful platforms for the children to socialise themselves, build up confidence and create pressure on the policy-making level in implementing the international child rights conventions.
Sushila Adhikari, secretary at the Consortium of Organisations Working for Child Clubs, said child clubs can be named one of the exemplary achievements of Nepal towards the implementation of child rights.
Though child clubs are very successful in Nepal, lots of things are yet to be done, she says. Though government statistics report over 7,000 child clubs in Nepal, the consortium has traced only 3,000.
Published: April 05, 2005 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

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