Nepali Times
Green light for ecology

Little green store

Ecoprise, a company that focuses on environment-friendly products and solutions has opened a store called ecoKendra that showcases renewable energy technologies, organic food, natural fibre products and recycled goods.

EcoKendra sources its goods from various parts of the country: orange juice from Phidim, herbal drinks from Kalikot, apple brandy from Jumla, bel juice from Siraha and coffee from Argakhanchi. Trendy hemp bags and sandals from Rolpa and Darchula fill the racks.

"While setting up solar systems in rural areas and showcasing our products in trade fairs we met many producers of organic goods," says Bhuwan KC of Ecoprise, "we decided to give them a platform for their products."

The store has a fair-trade value system and believes in increasing local sales by cutting down the mark-up. "We want to change the misconception that anything labeled organic is expensive and only for foreigners," explains KC. "The prices have been maintained accordingly so that Rasuwa's lentils are just as affordable as lentils in any other shop."

KC says that ecoKendra is not just about the ecology, but about economics. "Ecoprise is a socially motivated organisation, but we do not want to depend on handouts," he explains. The organisation is also in negotiations with supermarkets to open a separate section for organic and eco-friendly products.

Collecting rain

Raju Dangol, Hem Narayan Shrestha and Gokul Dangal could be the Kathmandu Valley's most invaluable trio this dry season. As rainwater harvesting technicians, they will be in high demand.

Rain is channeled from roofs and terraces to a coarse mesh to prevent the passage of debris, and into a pipe used to sieve out the first flush of dirty water. The collected water is filtered through bio-sand tanks to rid the water of ammonia, arsenic, iron, and dust, and finally conveyed to reservoirs under and above ground. Excess water can be channeled to recharge the water table underground, staving off some of the hassle of the dry season.

The scarcity of water at present and the prospect of its depletion in the future are incentive enough to consider installing a rainwater harvesting system. The rain in Kathmandu is minimally acidic and only needs the usual filtering and boiling to render it drinkable. With the possibility of collecting plenty of water with a single shower, a rainwater harvesting system can be a workable solution for both households and institutions.

The team of three has installed systems for several hotels and schools across the Valley, including the Summit Hotel, Rosebud School, and Phora Darbar. "Our work is to just connect the pipes, install the tanks and ensure the flow of water, so this does not incur a big expense," explains Dangol. While every site has different requirements in terms of tanks, pipes, and the size of catchment area, prices for household installation have ranged from Rs 800 to Rs 100,000, whereas prices for schools and hotels have ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 200,000. Time to install your own home rainwater system this monsoon.

Raju Dangol 9841367690, Hem Shrestha 9841534189, Gokul Dangal 9841797404

As good as new

Jamarko in Nepali means 'effort' and Jamarko Handmade Paper Products is a commendable effort to manage waste by recycling and reusing paper.

"Paper can be easily recycled and reused, it should not be a part of garbage," says Aruna Lacoul of Jamarko Handmade Paper Products. Lacoul and her sister Muna Shrestha started the company 10 years ago. They attended a paper recycling training course conducted by the Department of Cottage and Small Industries, and started a company. It has already managed to create an environment-friendly brand for itself.

Jamarko Handmade Paper Products collects waste paper from a range of organisations, recycles it, and turns it into usable items. Anyone is welcome to contribute to Lacoul and Shrestha's paper collection and a few INGOs and NGOs have become regular suppliers. Now, Jamarko recycles an average of 20 tons of paper every year.

The collected waste paper is sorted, soaked overnight and mashed into a gooey pulp which is strained and spread over tin sheets according to the thickness of the paper required. It is then dried in the sun and ironed to produce sheets of paper. On a good day, Jamarko can manufacture up to 600-800 sheets.

"The paper produced is of a fairly good quality and can even be used for simple printing," says Lacoul. With the paper, Jamarko produces folders, envelopes, letter pads, notebooks, invitation cards, visiting cards, handicraft items as well as A4/A3 size papers. On the side, the company also produces Nepali Lokta paper and its products. The quality of recycled newspaper is not up to the standards required, so they are reused instead by making paper bags.


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Electric city

1. Armugam
Collecting rain

Rain water collection can provide some relief yes, but does not do away with the water woes, in the short term. It will be beneficial only if it can be trapped in bulk. Unfortunately, most housing units in the city core simply do not have big areas.  
Another aspect that need to be seriously considered is to restrict use of precious piped water is flushing toilets. Use of well water, instead, should be promoted in the similar manner as RWH.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)