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Preserve the Environment (World Environment Day Special)

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Winning article in the blog-writing competition organized by Nepalese Youth for Climate Action

We can hardly imagine our life without the environment. Environment surely helps us to achieve indispensable pre-requisites of life such as food, shelter and cloth. Additionally, it bestows us with aesthetic and spiritual significance. Whenever we are close to nature we feel serene, peaceful and connected. Yet people have less or no concern at all when it comes to consequences on environment, while they consume life is fundamental.

Nepal has always been known as a beautiful country with pristine natural resources. However, these resources are gradually degrading as a result of environmental pollution. From the air we articulate to the food we consume, environment is committal. People execute handful of practices in order to accomplish the basic essence of life. And it has number of negative impacts on environment. For instance, wide varieties of agricultural practices cause air and water pollution, deforestation and soil degradation.

Also our country has been one of the most attractive tourist destinations. Many people visit Nepal to enjoy its serenity. Unfortunately, they also leave trashes while they explore hidden treasures of our country. Needless to say, this adversely affects the native ecosystem.  Construction industries, major source of income of many Nepalese, are prime mover for air pollution. Brick kilns expel thick black smoke which results in health hazards for real. Also, they boost in melting Himalayan glacial, culminating climate change. Kathmandu valley holds a great religious value. Along with numerous heritages, there are rivers like Bagmati and Bishnumati. But charm of these rivers at this moment, cling in our memories only. Rapid urbanization and developing industries drop waste materials in these rivers. It slays aesthetic values of river, moreover, threatening survival of aquatic organism and vegetation. In addition, its consumption may be fatal to human beings as well.

Breakneck up growth of technology has initiated number of activities like electricity generation, road construction, pharmaceuticals, paper and pulp industries and coal mining. These are also the significant contributors of global warming, ozone layer depletion, climate change and loss of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. Air pollution as a result of increasing number of vehicles and road construction, is becoming a deliberate issue in Kathmandu. It causes health issues like irritation to eyes, respiratory tract and allergic reactions as well. Likewise, imprudent dumping sites everywhere around the valley are aggravating to all of us.

Our lives are full of chaos. We cannot change our thoughts on facts but facts can definitely change our thoughts. What we think inside, we tend to show outside. And, if our external environment is so much chaotic, how can we be peaceful from inside? And I think inner peace is really important for a balanced life. These chaotic conditions are affecting us somehow and escaping into nature once in a while has become a necessity. It is essential to experience wilderness of nature but at the same time we need to preserve our precious resources.

Thus, environment must be conserved by switching into sustainable and eco-friendly construction. Individual efforts too, make a huge difference. Habitually apart of blaming government, we can bring innovative ideas and expertise to foster sustainable society. We can compost biodegradable wastes on our backyard that may reduce pressure to dumping ground. We can also use eco bags while shopping. People who are fortunate to have enough access of water should limit the amount of water usage. Perhaps we will be able to breathe fresh air if we plant trees around the degraded lands. Energy efficient alternatives can be used to reduce harmful emission. Government of Nepal should consider waste recycling plans and policies to prevent further environmental degradation. This should be helpful not just for present generation but our future generations will thank us as well. We better be aware of the fact that there is no second planet to suffice our needs and greed.

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” -Cree Indian Proverb

By Shrijana Poudel

The writer is an undergraduate level student of forestry at Kathmandu Forestry College.