ICIMOD, in collaboration with Godavari Municipality Ward No 3, Nabil Foundation, Dabur Nepal, and Doko Recyclers– a waste management company in Kathmandu - organized a cleaning campaign in Godavari, Lalitpur, Nepal to celebrate World Environment Day. Over 200 students and teachers from 10 schools in Godavari, local youth clubs, community forest user groups and volunteers from ICIMOD’s Eco-Club participated in the campaign.
Chantal Maudit School, Crescent Academy, Dolphin English Secondary School, Kitini Higher Secondary School. Shanti Rani School, Shree Siddheswar Adharbhut Vidhyalaya, SEDA School, St. Xavier's Godavari School and Vidya Sagar Boarding School participated in the cleaning campaign. The programme was addressed by Member of Parliament Nawaraj Silwal from Lalitpur, and the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Godavari Municipality.
ICIMOD Mountain Prize www.icimod.org/mountainprize
The ICIMOD Mountain Prize Commission announced Global Himalayan Expedition – facilitator of clean energy and digital education as well as promoter of sustainable tourism in the India Himalaya – the winner of the first ever annual ICIMOD Mountain Prize.
David Molden, director general of ICIMOD, awarded the first ever ICIMOD Mountain Prize to Paras Loomba, Founder of GHE, amidst a function organized the ICIMOD headquarters in Lalitpur, Nepal to celebrate World Environment Day.
Molden said that ICIMOD is proud to recognize GHE for "its outstanding efforts enabling sustainable and resilient mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)".
GHE was selected as the winner from a pool of 30 nominees from the HKH and beyond for bringing about transformative change in the lives and livelihoods of remote mountain communities in Ladakh,India through the implementation of its unique community-centred impact-based development model.
The following organizations and individuals from across our regional member countries received Honorable Mentions:
Knowledge Forum at ICIMOD: Beat Plastic Pollution
At a Knowledge Forum organized to mark World Environment Day at the ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal, Chiri Babu Maharjan, Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, said that his office would like to ban plastic bags from Lalitpur city starting at the beginning the new fiscal year. This, he said, will require a new local act to be passed by the municipality assembly.
Aayushi KC, founder CEO of Khalisisi, a trash collection company, spoke about her company’s vision for Nepal. The start-up aims to have Nepal figure in the top 20 nations in terms of recycling waste by 2030.
Shivani Shaira, relationship manager at Doko Recyclers, a waste management company, talked about incentivizing households to segregate waste at their source to enable smarter waste recycling in Kathmandu and other cities in Nepal. She said Doko Recyclers is working to make this happen.
Rajan Kotru, regional programme manager of ICIMOD’s Transboundary Landscapes Programme gave an overview of the world’s garbage problem. He spoke about the success of ICIMOD's waste management initiatives in the Kailash Sacred Landscape.
Lasse Bjorn Johannessen, Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal, spoke about the impact of plastic on Norway’s ocean and oceanscape, and the country's experience managing this problem, including the recycling of plastic bottles purchased at supermarkets and stores. He said that Norway has decades of experience managing waste and would be happy to share its knowledge with developing countries.
At the panel discussion moderated by Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times, some of the key takeaways were:
· incentivize segregation of waste at source
· encourage community engagement in waste management (good examples of this are from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and Lachen in north Sikkim)
· replicable "waste management solution model" for scaling
· promote uptake of ideas such as "cash for trash", "green tax", and "bring back waste you take to mountain areas" that have yielded promising results
· encourage producers to take responsibility for harmful packaging of their products
· prompt individuals to regard environmental problems as their personal responsibility
· increase awareness of local environmental waste problems in one's communities as s an entry point to getting involved in waste management
Facilitating Private and Public Sector Engagement
In line with the theme for World Environment Day for 2018, ICIMOD organised an event at its earthquake reconstruction model village Dhungetar, a settlement in Nuwakot district, Nepal. The event was inaugurated by the Chairman of the District coordination Committee and the Vice Mayor of Bidur Municipality.
Speaking at the event, Basanta Shrestha, director of strategic cooperation, ICIMOD, said that the model village provides a platform for collaboration for both the public and private sectors to bounce forward from the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake. He welcomed the participants from different cross-sections to mark World Environment Day.
Local government leaders, NGO partners, settlement community members, and women students of the Trishuli Medical College planted more than two hundred trees of various species at landslide prone areas in Bidur Municipality
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), which supports the Nepali government efforts to “maximizing the health benefits of clean cooking in Nepal”, showcased an interactive session on the environmental and health benefits of the community-wide use of clean fuels in the kitchen and the benefits of clean cookstoves to the community.
Recognizing the importance of hygienic drinking water, there was an announcement to launch a community-based drinking water system to provide access to safe drinking water.
With more than 100 participants, the highlight of the event was the involvement of various private sector companies who visited the reconstruction site to explore areas to add value to ongoing efforts, either through corporate social responsibility (CSR) or through business development opportunities.
These private sector organizations included Dabur Nepal for tree plantation; Nabil Investment Banking Limited for business development; e-Sewa for access to digital services; Lucent Drop for access to drinking water; Shikhar Insurance for access to agri and cattle insurance; and South Asia Foundation for introducing the Amul cooperative model. Hiefer International also participated for goat rearing livelihood options. The reconstruction project has completed a total of 90 households with 5 model houses with various renewable energy technologies; innovative agriculture practices and resilient shelters and infrastructure.
Events at the national and regional levels were organized in several HKH countries to celebrate this day.
In Bangladesh, Youth Opportunities organized a competition on Tree Plantation called “Turn the Pollution into a Solution”. The competition was designed to promote the theme of World Environment Day 2018 “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The competition aimed to encourage the young people of Bangladesh in re-using discarded plastic for the cause of environment.
In India, the Centre for Environment and Education (CEE), India, celebrated World Environment Day 2018 in 15 locations across the Indian Himalayan Region. The day was marked in Rajouri and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, Sundar Nagar in Himachal Pradesh, Dehradun and Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, Siliguri in West Bengal, Gangtok in Sikkim, and the capital cities of all the seven sister states of north eastern India. Large numbers of people participated in the events.
On plastic pollution, CEE has developed a kit which consists of three posters, each priced at INR 3; a booklet for students; and an activity manual for teachers. The kit is in English and Hindi languages, and has been translated into several other Indian regional languages.
The Beat Plastic Pollution Toolkit was launched at all locations. There were exhibition by CEE and schools, marathons, cleaning of the Ganga ghat, local street cleaning campaigns, and other events organized around concepts such as “waste to wealth” and “plastic pollution footprint calculator”. There were drawing, painting, and slogan writing competitions, and students wrote pledges and took oaths to protect the environment.
A World Environment Day 2018 webinar was also conducted. A hundred universities and academic institutions from 20 countries participated in the webinar, with up to 50 students participating from each institution.
In Pakistan, World Environment Day was marked with a seminar aimed at highlighting the impact of growing plastic pollution on ecosystems and raising awareness at the local level to reduce the daily consumption of plastic products. The ICIMOD Country Office, in collaboration with the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), World Wildlife Fund for Nature Pakistan (WWF-P), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UNDP, National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC), Technology Times, and the Islamic International University, organized the event.
In Nepal, Small Earth Nepal (SEN) organized “Best from Waste: An Environmental Fair-2018” around this year’s theme, “beat plastic pollution”. The programme was held at Shree Padma Higher Secondary School, Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Altogether 40 participants took part in the programme. Selected students from grades 7– 10 participated in the programme.
The programme revisited the well-known 3R principle: reduce, reuse and recycle. Experts trained students on making innovative things from recyclable waste.
There was also photo exhibition displaying the grim reality of plastic use and its effect on the environment. The students observed the display with much curiosity.
The training was successful in indulging students in creative learning. They interactively participated in the programme and learned from the experts about the necessity of keeping their ambience clean. Students also shared their views and opinions on what they got to learn through the event.
Best wishes to you all on this important day!
Message from the Director General
World Environment Day – 2018
Beat Plastic Pollution
David Molden, PhD
The world unites around the slogan “Beat Plastic Pollution” this week as it celebrates World Environment Day on June 5. The slogan, motivated by increasing awareness of the vast volume of plastic – discarded, bottles, bags, straws, and discarded items – that reach the world’s oceans, draws attention to the impact of plastic on aquatic life. Let us take a moment to reflect on the relevance of the theme to our mountains.
As mountain areas change, as manufactured goods and visitors from outside flood mountain villages, towns, and trekking routes in increasing numbers, many places find themselves overwhelmed by indiscriminately discarded garbage. From the kora around Mt Kailash to the slopes of Mt Everest, the natural beauty of these landscapes are blighted by unsightly piles of wrappers, bottles, bags, and other garbage. The problem is even more acute in our cities.
Some of the garbage from our mountain areas make it into our river systems and eventually to the oceans. The bits that stay behind in the mountains also cause severe problems – ranging from local soil and water pollution to dangerously high levels of air pollution resulting from emissions caused by burning plastics. Unfortunately, the practice of setting piles of garbage on fire is very common in the region and often done in the mornings and evenings when smoke spreads horizontally, into homes and lungs. Burning plastic releases large quantities of toxins as well as black carbon, as we recently discovered in a study coordinated by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Black carbon warms the atmosphere and contributes to the melting of Himalayan glaciers and snowfields.
The problem and its solutions can be found at several levels. First, garbage is poorly managed in many of our communities. Compostable and non-compostable materials are not separated. Collection is unreliable and insufficient, so that much of the garbage ends up piled on street sides where they burned. That garbage that is collected often ends up in poorly managed landfills that leach out dirty water and emit large amounts of methane into the air, which also contributes to climate warming. ICIMOD’s Transboundary Landscape Programme has been working with communities around Mt Kailash to set up locally managed garbage management and sanitation solutions.
Second, there is a strong need for increased awareness and behavioural change. The theme for World Environment Day this year discourages single-use plastic items. There are easy alternatives to using disposable cups, plates, cutlery, and straws, and plastic shopping bags. It usually takes very little effort for someone to use a more sustainable alternative. What is needed is awareness and a willingness to change habits.
Third, businesses can steer people towards more sustainable behaviour through their products and pricing. Often, the amount of packaging on any product can easily be decreased without compromising the product itself. Hotels can provide bulk shampoo instead of small single-use bottles. Increasing numbers of shops do not give out plastic bags for free anymore.
Fourth, local and national governments have a lot of power to change individuals’ behaviours to decrease the production of plastic waste. Increasing numbers of places are banning single-use plastic and plastic bags outright while in other places, governments have mandated that consumers pay extra for them.
As an intergovernmental organization working on issues of environment and sustainability from the high Himalaya all the way down to the oceans, ICIMOD needs to set an example. As we mark World Environment Day, ICIMOD bans all single-use plastic and all open fires from the ICIMOD campus as well as from all ICIMOD-organized events. We encourage all ICIMOD staff to pledge to do the same in their homes.
Wishing you all a happy World Environment Day.