«His Majesty's Government Ministry of Population and Environment Kathmandu, Nepal June 2000 Ministry of Population and Environment 1 State of the ...»
Effective from mid-September 1999, HMG has prohibited the movement of diesel-operated three-wheelers in Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City and Lumbini area with a view to minimising air pollution. The owner of such vehicle who intends to import 10 to 14 seated microbus which uses less polluting alternative energy, such as compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas, are provided with 99 per cent tax exemption and full VAT exemption.
HMG, through its budget speech of fiscal year 2000/2001 has imposed excise duty on bricks. HMG has levied excise duty on polythene bags based on the size of the micron. HMG has prohibited the production of alcohol in plastic pouch and import of all vehicles which do not comply with the Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standards, 2056 (MOF, 2000).
Although these fiscal measures and economic incentives affect revenue collection, they will largely contribute to promoting the national welfare by preserving the environment.
Integration of environmental concerns with economic policies is a challenging task for a developing country like Nepal. The effective implementation of environmental policies, rules and regulations have thus far been limited due to weak institutional structure and associated high costs. In this context, potentially cost-effective solutions such as marketbased measures, and a policy of mixed regulations and incentives are recognised as major tools for integration of environmental policy. A matrix of environmental policies and strategies will further check the contemporary anomalies of policies and market (Table 4.1).
4.3 Selected Programmes Nepal has implemented a number of environment-friendly activities since the early 1970s, in order to minimise natural resource degradation and pollution level. Empowerment of community users in natural resources conservation, particularly forest management in the form of community forests, soil conservation and watershed management, and irrigation development and maintenance have been institutionalised and promoted through policy and legal measures.
Community forestry programmes have been expanded in almost all parts of the country. As of March 2000, about 0.650 million ha of national forests have been handed over to more than 9,000 community forestry user groups. Through this process, about 1 million local people are directly benefited.
Although, the idea of community forestry was introduced in the late 1970s, it was expanded after the enforcement of the Forest Act, 1992. However, despite policy interventions, legal measures, institutional development and local people's involvement, forest depletion will still occur in some areas.
Based on the experiences of the community forests, HMG has also started soil conservation and watershed management activities with people's participation. The participatory watershed management system is in place in a number of districts for the conservation and rehabilitation of degraded watersheds. Community groups are now actively involved in terracing, mixed cropping and relay cropping in the private land and conservation plantation in the degraded hill slopes and water source protection areas.
Similar user groups concept has been expanded for the construction and maintenance of irrigation schemes, with due consideration to experiences of the Farmers Managed Irrigation Schemes (FMIS).
User groups have also been mobilised to manage the buffer zones in the Terai Parks and Reserves since the mid-1990s. This approach has been expanded to all the protected areas (8 National Parks, 4 Wildlife Reserves and 3 Conservation Areas) in a phased manner. Local user groups have been instrumental in managing Nepal's conservation areas, and utilising the natural resources for community development in a sustainable manner.
This has substantially minimised the pressure of the local people on the park resources. These initiatives have also promoted ownership concept in managing the natural resources.
HMG has also expanded the institutionalisation of environmental assessment system through policy and legal instruments. Most development projects must follow the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process legally and prepare EIA reports. This has facilitated the incorporation of environmental control measures in the project planning, design, implementation and operational stages. This EIA system has further been promoted through the implementation of the EIA guidelines which ensure public consultation and hearing. Sectoral EIA guidelines have also been prepared in order to assist the proponent to prepare sectorspecific EIA report.
Several activities have been continued to generate environmental information and institutional strengthening. Equal emphasis has been given to create public awareness in order to promote environment-friendly lifestyle.
HMG has also taken a number of initiatives to minimise pollution load in the urban areas. The Ministry of Industry is pursuing environment conservation through the formulation of discharge standards of wastewater. Tolerance limits for industrial effluents discharged into surface waters are already in place. However, pollution control mainly focuses on the so-called "end-ofpipe" technologies, meaning treatment of pollution or waste at the end of an industrial process. Cleaner production technologies have also been introduced to minimise and/or avoid waste and emission, increase efficiency, reduce production costs, minimise cost of the end-of-pipe technologies, and improve product quality and working conditions. Despite these efforts, environmental pollution has not been reduced to an acceptable level and the correlation between human health and pollution is yet to be analysed in the local context.
Since 1996, HMG has been conducting the testing of vehicular emission in Kathmandu Valley. Almost all vehicles plying in the Valley have undergone the testing process and the vehicles which comply with the standards are given green sticker. Vehicular movement is prohibited in selected areas to those vehicles which do not comply with the standards.
Ministry of Population and Environment 93 State of the Environment Report, 2000
4.4 Vehicular Pollution Control Programme Based on the vehicle-test results a increasing pollution load, HMG nd banned the movement of diesel-operated three-wheelers in Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City and Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, since the middle of September 1999. Similar ban has also been imposed on the registration of new two-stroke engine vehicles. However, vehicles imported or being imported under LCs opened before this decision can be registered in other areas except in the Bagmati Zone. Furthermore, two-stroke engine vehicles that comply with the Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standards, 2056 can be registered and operated in areas beyond the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City and Lumbini.
With the aim of minimising the pollution load from vehicles, HMG has introduced, since 23 December 1999, Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standards, 2056 which are similar to EURO-1 standards (Annex 11). These standards comprise levels of Carbon Monoxide, Hydrocarbon and Oxides of Nitrogen with provisions for type approval and conformity of production of the vehicles.
Since 19 February 2000, HMG has also made necessary arrangements for prohibiting the movement of government, corporation and the diplomatic mission-owned vehicles, which do not comply with the standards prescribed from time to time, in the Kathmandu Valley. Furthermore, all 20year-old auctioned vehicles are prohibited for registration or transfer of ownership in the Kingdom of Nepal. However, the auctioned vehicles which are below 20 years of manufacturing date may change the ownership in the country expect in the Kathmandu Valley. In addition, HMG has banned the import of reconditioned and second-hand vehicles.
All vehicles which ply in the Kathmandu Valley must have the compliance certificate. Necessary arrangements have also been made for randomchecking of vehicles and petroleum products. These initiatives have contributed to improving the air quality in the Kathmandu Valley. Efforts are also under way to study the carrying capacity of roads and make necessary arrangements for controlling the registration of new vehicles in the Kathmandu Valley.
HMG is also planning to establish monitoring stations to ensure monitoring and evaluation regularly and impose environmental standards. HMG has also recently made a decision to make the Ministry of Population and Environment responsible for environmental monitoring. This new responsibility will likely contribute to develop and implement a comprehensive of Plan of Action on environmental management.
94 Ministry of Population and Environment State of the Environment Report, 2000
4.5 Emerging Issues
The dynamics of natural resource depletion and increasing poverty in the country is a complex scenario. It is a national challenge to conserve natural resources under high levels of poverty and rising population. A large number of the poor sustain their livelihood through utilization of the marginal resources. Consequently, over a period of time, these resources become over exploited. It is therefore, a formidable task to conserve the environment with people's participation, to alleviate poverty, and conserve and utilize resources on a sustainable basis keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders. Following are some environmental issues likely to emerge in the near future.
4.5.1 Resource Degradation
Increase of human and livestock population will continue to exert pressure on the natural resource base, particularly the forests and land system. With the existing cultivation on steep slopes likely to continue, soil loss will be accelerated and its impact on downstream ecosystem will be tremendous.
If alternative energy sources and income-generating activities are not strengthened and/or promoted, local people will continue being involved in extracting more forest products. Increased forest depletion and degradation will result in further soil loss, increase in landslides, flood frequency and water scarcity in affected areas. It is, therefore, necessary to strengthen resource management activities at the earliest possible, with due consideration of environmental concerns to attain the national goals of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
4.5.2 Environmental Pollution
Along with socio-economic development, urbanisation coupled with industrialisation is likely to increase the utilisation of more resources and disposal of wastes. In order to improve socio-economic development, establishment of pollution-prone industries is also likely to increase. The discharge of solid wastes and untreated effluents by both domestic and industrial sources will likely increase in the coming future. Adoption of the pollution control technologies and measures may be costly and the cost of product will also increase. As a result products cannot compete in the international market, reinforcing the vicious cycle of poverty.
Urban areas may also experience changes in air quality. If vehicular and industrial emission is not regulated in time, the current practice of using the
4.5.3 Integrated Environment Management Approach A holistic integrated environmental management (IEM) approach will arrest environmental degradation and increase national productivity.
Implementation of this approach would promote ecosystem-based participatory management of natural resources and address environmental pollution through a mix of command and control (CAC) and non-regulatory market based incentive measures. A sustainable society could thus be achieved.
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