Kathmandu's growth could be severely compromised unless the tide of environmental degradation resulting from economic and human pressures is stemmed, says a new report by UNEP and ICIMOD.
Kathmandu Valley Environmental Outlook cites growing urbanisation, population growth, unhampered and poorly planned land development, and insufficient coordination among government agencies as major causes of environmental deterioration.
Vehicular emissions are the primary cause of deteriorating air quality-exhaust fumes increased by four times between 1993 and 2001 and the concentration of particulate matter has tripled over the past decade. Solid waste disposal and household and industrial effluents dumped into the rivers are responsible for water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and skin disease. A quarter-over 100 tons-of the waste generated daily is left to decay on streets and in rivers. Groundwater has dropped from 9m to 68m in a matter of years.
The report recommends a number of measures to prevent and minimise negative impacts. These include improved planning and zoning, land pooling, better solid waste management, and rainwater harvesting. The report says that community mobilisation is essential if these goals are to be met.