Nepali Times
Heaven to hell

At Sundarijal, the water runs crystal clear, gurgling down from Shivapuri. Translucent fish dart in the cool pools among the boulders, and water birds peck gingerly along the sand banks. The air is scented with forest flowers.

Just five kilometres downstream, as the Bagmati passes Gokarna, the stench is already overpowering. Large cement pipes dump yellowish sewage into the river. Further down, new squatter settlements come right down to the river with plastic privies dotting the water's edge. At Pashupati, there is just a small channel to take the ashes of the cremations.

Sandmining has caused the collapse of the Sinamangal bridge, and surprisingly the sand is still being extracted by women carrying dokos full of wet sand. The black water slithers through canyons of rubbish towards Teku, and along the banks age-old religious festivals worshipping the holy river go on amidst the squalor and stench.

At Chobhar, the holy site where Manjushree sliced the mountain to let the water out and create the Bagmati Valley Civilisation, the white water is caused by detergents tumbling over boulders.

On World Environment Day, let us help the youth clubs, environmental groups and heritage conservation organisations helping to revive a river that once defined what was best about the Kathmandu Valley.

Biogas moves up, Foo Chee Chang
Reviving the river
The age of enlightenment, Ahmad Iskandar
Maoists block upper Marsyangdi, Dambar K Shrestha
A weathered people, Prawin Adhikari
Revisiting Crapmandu, Rabi Thapa

1. ripvanwinke
goddamiit when i was young my father used to take me swimming there.

2. KiranL
Love the green masthead, it was pleasant surprise getting it this morning. And thanks for the extensive coverage of environmental issues in this issue! KL

3. syakar adiga

Bagmati, I cry when I think of what we did to you. We are all responsible for your fate. I remember when the municipality announced piped sewerage system some 25 yrs back, and we were all so happy for not having to empty our septic tanks any longer. Nobody thought through- or those that did were least bothered to complain against dumping all the city's toilets onto our river. I remember seeing the clean and wide Bagmati from the old Thapathali bridge on the way to school and right in front of my own eyes, in a span of less than 5 years, also remember the horrid smell the river espoused while our school bus got stuck in traffic on top of the Thapathali bridge.

Here is my prediction: The land mafia will grab all the land and will push through an agenda to pipe the remaining squalor of the once pristine water. There will be roads and buildings on top of what used to be Bagmati. Our children will read about the river in books- if we have the capacity to document its demise.

Sad sad story.

4. Anonymous
The polluted Bagmati is the 'showcase' for our failed development and failed political system. How we as people have lost our historical and cultural sense, and how our conscience has collectively failed !

It is sad that Nepalese and Nepalese leaders do not realize Bagmati and streets of Kathmandu as DRESSES OF KATHMANDU.   

6. Daniel Gajaraj
"When the snobs are in the saddle, it is good that I have lost my eye-sight." said the great poet of Argentina,when Peron became the Presidentand the country was bleedig. The Poet Laurate at 75 was as blind as Homer then. This is the state of affairs of this land for the last few dwcades. Or our lear-class  politicians(?/a bunch of self-seekig thugs or cospirators)see only what they want to see. They do,nt see the filth on te road they daily pass by.Dirt is not dirt only some thing put on the wrong place!l

7. Norbu Ghaley
Not only the Bhagmati river, everything is badly polluted in Nepal, air to breath in is polluted badly, water to drink is polluted badly, soil to grow food is getting contaminated with uncontrolled flow of polluted toxic water and plastic bags that remain there inside.

Above all politics from the polluted minds of all politicians pollutes the whole political atmosphere of Nepal, it is now high time for all the Nepalese to come up with a good solution and very strong effort to stop all these pollutions of all kind in Nepal!

There is too much strain on Nepal Ama these days! I feel very sad seeing all these burden on Nepal ama! Once a birth place of thousand Buddhas!

Jai Nepal!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)