COP-26 ep5: Nepal

Welcome to the fifth of the blogs on climate change in this mini-series that follows in the wake of the COP-26 international summit. In each episode we have heard from one of our CRED partners as they reflect on how claimate change is impacting their country and their work. In this episode we hear from Bishnu, who heads up PSD Nepal.

Nepal is a landlocked country with an 24% of its area covered by forest. Nepal forest contains of 485 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass. Though the forest area is increasing in recent years between 1990 and 2010 Nepal lost an average of 59,050 forest lands which is 1.23% yearly. Nepal ranks in 12th in worlds worst air quality in 2020. In early 2021, a thick layer of smog enveloped Kathmandu valley. The visibility in the valley went down dramatically and the Air Quality Index shown by the US embassy in the capital was over 300 which meant “Hazardous”.

While the pandemic has already been affecting everyone’s mental state the climate condition and global warming has been a new thing most of the youth are concerned about. Various awareness campaigns on social media, posts regarding sustainability and minimalism has been widely shared in Nepalese youth.. Youth are involved with various organizations that support climate action and overall Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  As a youth myself, one of the major thing I am concerned about is environmental pollution. Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change and has already experienced changes in temperature and precipitation at a faster rate than the global average. Due to its geography, Nepal is exposed to a range of climate risks and water-related hazards triggered by rapid snow- and ice-melt in the mountains and torrential rainfall episodes in the foothills during the monsoon season. Millions of Nepalese are estimated to be at risk from the impacts of climate change including reductions in agricultural production, food insecurity, strained water resources, loss of forests and biodiversity, as well as damaged infrastructure. In Nepal, about half of greenhouse gas emissions come from the agriculture sector, followed by energy, land-use change and forestry, industrial processes, and waste.

PSD Nepal has been taken various actions for environment. It is the only organization that has been working on plastic recycling in Langtang National Park and recently it has planned a pilot project for up-cycling the plastic in Kathmandu and Langtang. A lot of youth are engaged with PSD’s project as its directly related to climate action. As a youth, I highly believe people should be aware about the reuse, recycle and up cycle of plastic as its one of the major product that is degrading our environment. Even when 5 years back when government had banned the single time use plastic bags but the adoption of the very rules didn’t lasted much and one time plastic is still use in the country. The only place where plastic is ban is the Everest region.

One of the good thing that is happening in Nepal in regards the pollution is awareness about the electric vehicle and increase of adoption of electrical vehicle. Government of Nepal invested in Sajha Yatayat to procure and operate electric buses. Decarbonizing public transport is one of the most effective ways to reduce air pollution, particularly diesel fumes, which contain large amounts of black carbon, a short-lived climate pollutant that is carcinogenic to humans. Since public buses are on the streets for over 12 hours per day, and they operate on diesel, converting them to electric will be a major game changer in the fight against air pollution. Cleaner buses will also invite more people to take the bus, which is also a great social equalizer.

When having conversation with peers regarding the air pollution, its impact and how we can combat it?, I got interesting insights which is mentioned below:

Working with organizations like PSD, Yuwa, AIESEC, youth can work on climate action directly and be aware about it hence impact the society. I think environment pollution is something that should be everyone’s concern and we all should work on it.- Pasang Magar, 20, Southwestern College

Often I hear people say, its difficult for individual to work for climate action, but what I believe is, even individual step towards climate change and global warming and help. I personally go planting every Saturday all by myself and check out the plants I planted. I think it is somehow making a small impact for our environment.- Saira Khadka, 21, Kathford College

I think awareness is lacking in our society, people are unaware about composting, recycling, thrifting etc. If people adapted these things, it can help minimize air, water and environment pollution significantly. – Priya Shah, 23 KUSOM.

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