Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT) has been organizing Bagmati River Festival (BRF) since 2001. The main aim of the festival/program is to create public awareness and to bring them close to Bagmati Civilization. This practice can be very fruitful as we know, as per the nature of human; people only love those things which are close to them. Further more, BRF provides platform for all people, NGO’s and INGO’s to show and display their performance regarding their conservation practice and activities related to Bagmati and other rivers as well. The general public who cares about the rivers and who are interested too have chance to put up their voice. Keeping all these points in mind this festival is called as the festival of 21st century.
21st century Festival, why?
We have different historical, cultural, religious festival which started at some time in the history. Now, we need yet another festival which revives religious tolerance, environment, art, culture, literature, music, sports etc as per the present generation.
As ritual of the festival, we not only clean our rivers and water resource but we bring people near of it and link them with rivers emotionally and physically. Their touch with the river will certainly wake up their will to conserve it and ultimately we can move forward to make our rivers breathe.
The experience of a decade has taught us few things which need to be done strictly to revive the glory of this scared river. These five points which are the problems of Bagmati and on the other hand solution on itself.
- Sewage Management:
The foremost and the major problem of the Bagmati is the direct sewage mixing to the River. These needs to be strictly checked out and the mixing should be done after necessary treatment. But, the major problem is, we still are not clear about the authority. The questions like, “Who is responsible to do it?” “How to do it?” are still unanswered.
- Solid Waste Management:
Although the government has declared the dumping site and the most of the waste of the valley goes there, still the major proportion of the waste generated are thrown to the River. So, the strong ethics and regulations are needed to discourage the unwanted dumping of the waste along the River.
- Water Level Rise:
The water level of Bagmati, other than in the rainy season, is almost nil. What we see in the river is ninety percents of sewage running instead of the water. The natural flow of the river is dammed at Sundarijal, to fulfill the water demand of the valley. Other tributaries of Bagmati are also use for drinking and other household activities in upland and they themselves get polluted when they flow downstream. Inorder to have the clean and beautiful Bagmati we need to increase its flow. It could be done by mass water transplant (From Melamchi?), rain water harvesting, watershed management (Phulchwoki, Sundarijal, Shivapuri etc).
- Law and Order:
In absence of the proper and absolute law, the problems like increasing slum numbers along the bank of the river, land intrusion, sand picking etc. remains unsolved. The system of prize and punishment should be well maintained so that people will automatically minimize the demolition of the River.
- Awareness Campaign:
The awareness campaigns, like BRF, is needed to revive the Bagmati, to care of the revived Bagmati and after fifty years when the Bagmati is pristine and clean these campaign are needed to manage it as well.
After the long way of a decade of BRF, many people still have a serious question with us. “Does picking up the plastic a day clean Bagmati?” Indeed it does not but it’s a sort of protest against the government and stake holders who still lack proper plans, policy and programs for conserving this River. So, what we are doing at Bagmati is the symbolic protest, the protest by picking up the plastics as tyre is burnt by the all. We are neither an Engineer nor the government body, what we can do is being done with full motivation and continuous effort.