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Visitors throng EcoFair

Thursday, June 5th, 2014
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The Nepali Times EcoFair 2014 got off to a flying start on World Environment Day on 5 June at Kathmandu’s exhibition grounds in Bhrikuti Mandap.

The fair was inaugurated by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudel, environmentalist Bhusan Tuladhar of UN-HABITAT, and Himalmedia Chair Ambica Shrestha by watering saplings (pic, below). Among more than 65 exhibitors are companies representing electric cars, rain water harvesting and solar systems.

Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudel inaugurates the Nepali Times Eco Fair on Thursday.

Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudel inaugurates the Nepali Times Eco Fair on Thursday.

“We can achieve a lot with public-private partnerships like this EcoFair to promote the cause of environmental preservation through awareness,” Poudel said. This is the third year that Nepali Times has organised the EcoFair, and some 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the venue of the three-day exhibition.

Among the visitors on the first day was Hum Gurung of Himalayan Sustainable Future Foundation who said the exhibition spread the message that a green lifestyle was important. “The key is sustainability, we have to ask if growth is sustainable, is natural resource exploitation sustainable. Business should not just make economic sense, but ecological sense,” he said.

The first day saw large participation of young visitors, including thousands of students from various Kathmandu schools. One 7th grader, Akriti Thapa, said: “I wasn’t expecting much at this exhibition, but after seeing the stalls I learnt a lot of new things. My favourite was the Smart Paani stall with a model of how rainwater harvesting works,” she said.

Himalmedia Chair Ambika Shrestha said Nepali Times has learnt from the experience of previous years and has ironed out the kinks. “We hope to be getting a lot more visitors than before to spread awareness about the need to care for our environment,” she added.

Among the exhibitors is V-Tech which works with herbal products containing the medicinal plant Ganoderma lucidium found in Nepal. Its products are used to detoxify the body and bolster the human immune system. “In the first day we saw a lot of interest in our products among visitors and we hope this will continue in the coming two days,” said V-Tech’s Shashi Sharma.

Sabah Nepal produces a wide range of clothing made of bamboo, nettle and Dhaka fabric, and displayed some of its products with a demonstration loom in the stall. Despite some hesitation at the beginning bamboo and nettle weaves are gaining popularity, and Sabah was seen to be doing brisk business selling shawls.

Nisha Joshi runs Joshi Ban Nursery Tatha Mauri Palan, which is a Hetauda-based family business selling plants and honeybees. “Our honey is medicinal because we use types of bees that specialise in certain flowers,” Joshi explains.

Dev Maya Limbu from Terathum has been actively involved in making caps, mufflers, saaris and cholo using the loom. She demonstrates the making process to the audiences at Nepali times eco fair on Thursday.

Dev Maya Limbu from Terathum has been actively involved in making caps,mufflers, saaris
and cholo using the loom. She demonstrates the making process to the audiences at Nepali times eco fair on Thursday.

The award-winning Smart Paani demonstrated its rainwater harvesting activities, and says its biggest challenge is to convince people that collected rainwater can be used for drinking after filtration. “Besides, it is a necessity because tanker water is expensive and contaminated,” says Bijen Shakya of Smart Paani.

Maharjan Metal Industries is the oldest company manufacturing solar thermal water heaters in Nepal. “We have been in this business for over 30 years, and have adapted our design for affordability without sacrificing quality and to ensure that it is maintenance free,” says the company’s Anil Maharjan.

The recently-privatised Dairy Development Corporation brought two of its newest products to the fair: strawberry flavored lassi and probiotic yogurt. Monika Pradhan of DDC explains: “Probiotic yogurt is different from other yogurt found in market, it is beneficial to the human body with therapeutic value and fights gastro intestinal problems like diarrhea.”

The exhibition also saw participants like Kansai Nerolac which was showcasing its non-toxic lead- free paints. “Our paints may be slightly more expensive than other brands, but they are safer and longer-lasting,” said Uma Budhamagar of Kansai Nerolac Paints. “We are happy with the response here from visitors.”

First time in Nepal, Terra Motors is a Japanese brand of electric scooters which run on battery and has a range of 45km on a full charge, which takes 3 hours for a 80% top up. The scooters cost Rs 15 per 45 km to run, whereas petrol cars can cost more than Rs 35 to go the same distance. The Japan-based company will be bringing other models, including electric three wheelers to Nepal
which it says “can be charged like mobiles”. The scooters with tubular lead batteries cost Rs 160,000, and are being discounted by Rs10,000 at the fair with a free helmet with each purchase.

Sonia Awale

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