Nepali Times
Life Times
Flower power

GREEN SCENE by PAAVAN MATHEMA


BIKRAM RAI
Until a few years ago, the small fountain next to the entrance of Patan Darbar Square was pretty much a massive dustbin. It was not uncommon to see plastic wrappers, cups and cigarette butts floating in the pond's scummy green water.

But take a stroll down to the square today and you'll see fish in the pond, which has functioning fountains. The pond is now lined with benches and strategically placed dustbins for both degradable and non-degradable waste welcome you. And there are neatly maintained flowerpots all around. The brick-paved square now has its own mini-garden.

"I grew up in this area, and when I saw the degraded state of the pond and its surroundings, I felt something needed to be done," says Bijaya Prajapati, president of Children for Green New Nepal (CGNN). Established in 2007, the organisation works to involve school children, youth and anyone else willing to volunteer their time for green projects. At present, CGNN has over 100 active members.

CGNN started the 'flower project' for Patan Darbar Square in 2009 with 30 flower pots. So far, they've installed 468 flower pots, 22 trees, 4 benches and 6 dustbins. Thermocol boxes, used to transport fish, have been decorated and transformed into flower pots. Installation art made with used plastic bottles are on display next to the pond. CGNN members rotate the responsibility of watering the plants and maintaining the area, and organise major clean-up programs at regular intervals.

Prajapati says that although they had some problems earlier, attitudes have changed. "When we started, a few pots and flowers were stolen, but we continuously replaced them," he explains. "Now we have no such problems and when we work, the community also pitches in."

CGNN's perseverance has certainly paid off. The project it initiated independently has attracted many partners. Akita Campus Net, Patan Durbar Square Conservation Committee and Alliance Franšaise de Katmandou now work with CGNN on the flower project. Even Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City, which was initially sceptical about CGNN's commitment, has for the first time granted CGNN a sum of Rs 40,000. CGNN is also working with the restaurants in the area to install a map of the square.

Recently, CGNN expanded its conservation work to another part of the square, Magnahiti. Over 100 flower pots have already been placed there.

Says Prajapati: "This project has helped enhance the environment of the square. Now we are exploring ways to be economically sustainable so that we can continue our work."

Paavan Mathema



1. Bijay prajapati
Thanks a lot

LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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