The waste management and disposal issue in Kathmandu has raised concerned among the people living in the city. The roads, sidewalks, rivers and even heritage sites are filled with garbage. This has been continuing for several months and it is crucial that the waste is managed and disposed properly before any health hazards spreads impacting their health conditions. Similarly, climate change and natured based or human induced disaster has been a heated debate in the country as it has impacted many lives. Nepal government design early disaster preparedness mechanisms to save lives. Alongside this, Nepal’s drug smuggling case is on the rise and has been a delicate situation for the security of a country.
Timeline of Major Events
|August 2||Cases filed in the court against 115 including industries, firms and business people for selling low quality food.|
|August 3||22.5 MW solar energy generated electricity added to national distribution grid.|
|August 13||An agreement has been reached between Finland and Nepal to mitigate impacts of climate change.|
|August 14||Flood hit areas of Saptakoshi has been declared disaster prone zone|
|August 15||Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, a US health agency, has put Nepal on the ‘high risk’ list (level 3) for COVID-19.|
|August 18||Writ filed at supreme court to legitimatise crypto currency|
Waste Management crisis and health security at stake
From the past few months, the capital city was flooded in piles of waste material in the roads making daily livelihoods of people unbearable with the stench and the fear of the spread of diseases. The news was covered in international media stating Kathmandu city is filled with garbage as the villagers of Bancharedada protested on dumping massive due to overwhelming amount of garbage on the landfill sites. Nepal already has been ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world and now wastage management issues has contributed even more to Nepal’s international discredit. The villagers are not wrong to protest as their health is compromised, water pollution, air pollution and severe illness have been borne from the waste. Even the landfill sites were supposed to be used as a temporary place for dumping, as agreed before, but still no proper measure or alternative processing of the wastage have been determined by the government. Now, Kathmandu is facing a severe wastage management crisis adding on to already filthy roads, increased health risks, unbearable reek of organic wastage decomposing, rivers overflowing with garbage and impacting tourism.
Wastage disposal problem aside, the government over the years has promoted syndicate in the sector and politicized the matter. Why hasn’t the government brought attention of the people/business into attention of the people/businesses contracted for waste management? Also, there has been a term looming around these days ‘waste politics,’. In addition to this, the international community may face difficulties while visiting Nepal taking due to increased pollution. The government of Nepal and concerned authorities cannot ignore as millions of lives are at risk. Even, informal waste separation workers who are prone to deadly health hazards, should be a concern of the government. A study conducted near the landfill site has proved that its waste has countless impact on the lives of living there, and soil, air and water being polluted. The three main causes to waste management should be addressed immediately to clear out waste from the streets of Kathmandu and promote health security: management of the landfill sites, waste segregation and disposal management/recycling/ and coordination among the government institutions.
Climate change and disasters: increased displacement in the country
Ample studies on climate change have predicted that climate change will have severe impact on daily lives of the people, whereas, many will have to displace themselves even to sustain their livelihood. According to IDMC datasheet, Nepal already has 32,000 internally displaced people due to disasters and climate change until December, 2021. This year drought and floods have added many more to the list. Floods in the western region of Nepal, mainly Saptakoshi, has displaced over 25000 people this month. The government has also declared the area flood prone zone. It is critical matter impacting thousands of lives many left with no home, food crisis, and poverty. It has been claimed that the flood occurred due to lack of maintenance of the barrage, which is supposed to be done by India according to the agreement. This year has proved that the flood dangers are increasingly impacting the communities. It has also been estimated that the lack of weather stations in the country has proven less efficient in predicting the disaster.
Hence, experts concluding on lesson over the years of loss of lives and displaced families due to floods and droughtshave realized the need to install automatic precipitation stations in every infrastructure and hydropower projects for early predictions and warnings of the crisis that might befall. On August 29, Nepal signed a financing agreement of $100 million for green, resilient and inclusive development of the country. The purposes for the funds is to promote sustainable and productive use of natural capital; resilience of urban and rural infrastructure, human capital, and livelihoods to climate and environmental risks; and more efficient and cleaner production, consumption, and mobility. The government of Nepal and concerned departments and authorities should proactively engage in addressing the outcomes of climate change and disasters impacting thousands of lives.
Drug Smuggling in Rise:
Nepal is considered to be transit hub of the international drug smuggling organized crime groups and increased interest in expansion in drug smuggling through the country is in the rise. According to the Nepal Police records, over 3000 casesof drug smuggling is recorded and, from mid-July 2021 to mid-April 2022, 4231 have been arrested by the Nepal police in involvement of drug smuggling.85 The statistic does not portray good numbers, and have been predicted to surpass arrests in comparison to previous years. It is rather concerning that new ways are adopted to smuggle drug into the country like the dark net and post offices. Recently, a news reported smuggling through the post-office has been rampant and coming from all over the world. Narcotics Control Bureau had managed to arrest several culprits in various cases using post office as means to enter drug into the country. Even though stringent laws for drugs and smuggling are available in Nepal, the numbers of cases are growing by the year. The increases in crime rate and usage of drugs by the people are heavily concerning factors to drug smuggling.
Dark net in recent years is wildly used for illegal activities all over the world, and Nepal is no exception to that. The advantage of it leaving very little trails, making it useful for the criminals to use it for illegal activities. A study has also shown that presence of Nepali in utilizing dark web for purchases of marijuana, opium and charas is quite visible, which was to be shipped for many different countries.Along with traditional means of bringing in drugs, as through borders and airports that impacted in country’s security has now expanded to use of cyber means and delivery through post office. Various awareness programs and operations on catching the culprits of drug smuggling has been conducted by the concerned authorities. Yet, with advancement in ways to smuggling requires increased security measures through cyber security enhancement and active involvement in dismantling the smuggling network. Otherwise, with the rate that the smuggling cases are growing, Nepal can have grave security implications in the future.