Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chlorine lacking in piped water in Valley: Survey

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, October 27:

Piped water distributed in many areas of Kathmandu Valley is lacking in chlorine, according to a survey to be released soon. Both high and low chlorine concentration are harmful for public health.
The Free Residual Chlorine Survey in piped water, conducted in the valley for the past three months, has shown that water in at least 17 out of selected 93 areas contains no chlorine at all, while there is low concentration of chlorine in piped water distributed in many other areas. A total of 120 volunteers from all five municipalities took 1,552 samples to prepare the report, to be published after Tihar.
“The report has shown that piped water distributed in the Valley is not at all suitable for drinking. It shows the poor condition of water and sanitation in our capital,” said Triratna Manandhar, a programme officer at the NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation (NGOFUWS). The survey was conducted by NGOFUWS with supports from UN-HABITAT, as part of Cholera Mitigation Campaign 2007.
The problem of absence of chlorine in piped water has hit the small town of Kirtipur the hardest. Out of the seven points examined there, piped water distributed in four places — Dhusitole, Nagaun, Tyanglaphant, Khasibazar — had no chlorine at all.
In Kathmandu, 11 places out of 57 survey points showed that piped water distributed there is totally lacking in chlorine. The places where water is distributed without chlorine include Ombahal, Chapali, Hyoomata, Jaishideval, Dhokatol, Bauddha Phulbari, Goldhunga Balaju, Maruhiti, Thapathali, In addition, over 75 per cent of the tests in Maru, Jhochhen, Indrachowk, Guchhatole, Yatkhabahal, Milanchowk Kapan showed nil chlorine in those areas.
Out of 12 points in Bhaktapur, severe problem of chlorine deficiency was observed only in Katunje. Lalitpur is relatively less affected. Only in Sundhara, 80 per cent of tests resulted in nil chlorine.
On the contrary, chlorine concentration was found to be high in a number of areas. The areas with high chlorine in Kathmandu are Putalisadak Newplaza, Maharajgunj Chakrapath, Milanchowk Baneshwor and Jhwabahal. In Lalitpur, Nirmalbasti of Satdobato was found to be the only area where the concentration of chlorine was high.
Only nine spots of Kathmandu and two of Kirtipur are blessed with normal concentration of chlorine. The areas include Dhapasi Chauki, Old Baneshowr, Tankeshowr, Wotu, Dallu Awas, Chhetrapati Chowk, Bijeshwwri, Soaltimod and Pepsikola Koreshwor of Kathmandu and Kamalpokhari of Kirtipur. Generally, 0 to 0.2 milligramme of chlorine in one litre of water is considered less, 0.2 to 0.5 mg is considered normal and 0.5 to 1 mg is taken as high concentration. “The WHO has set that 0.2 to 0.5 mg of chlorine in a litre of water is standard. Less than it means that bacteria still live in the water and excessive chlorine in long term may cause cancer to the public,” said Rosha Raut, lab in-charge at the Nepal Environment and Public Health Organisation.
The study was conducted in 56 places in Kathmandu, 11 places in Lalitpur, 12 places in Bhaktapur, seven places in Kirtipur and three places in Thimi.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Call for clean development projects

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, October 18:

Nepal has urged the international community working for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to encourage participation
of the private sector in small-scale projects that provide social and environmental benefits.
“Our agenda in the third meeting of the CDM Designated National Authority (DNA) Forum in Ethiopia was to lobby for private sector’s participation in CDM projects,” said Batu Krishna Uprety, the chief of the Environment Assessment Section at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, talking with this daily.
Uprety recently returned to Nepal after participating in the meeting organised by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia.
The participants of the meeting focused on capacity needs of CDM, need for raising awareness on CDM at political level and use of existing framework of cooperation. “We considered CDM to be a mechanism for economic development and adaptation on climate change,” he said.
“I stressed on how profit-making private sector could participate in social benefits related CDM projects, and the need for exploring and supporting for further participation of public sector in such small scale CDM projects,” he said. “I raised the issues related to methodologies of the small scale biomass projects with focus on realistic baselines, social responsibilities of the DNA in developing and implementing CDM projects and capacity building of stakeholders,” he added.
“It was a great opportunity to raise our voice in such big forum. Our voice needs to be heard so that we can take advantage of CDM and time has come that we would earn money through carbon trading,” he said.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Russian wants to traverse the world by 2010

• Heads to Pokhara from City on foot
• Aims to act in Bollywood flicks

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, October 14:

After travelling in Kathmandu for a week, 33-year-old Russian world-traveller Sergej Chikachev headed to Pokhara on foot today.
He was uncertain of his future when he left his home near Moscow on August 2004 with some 2,000 US dollars in his pocket, but as time passed, after going through ups and downs on the way, he is now pretty sure that he would leave his footprints in 100 countries by the end of 2010.
“What you need during long-distance travelling is your brain. You need language, friends, information, attention and curiosity, but on top of it all, brain guides you all the way,” he said talking to this daily.
Most of the time, he travels on foot. With a 35-plus-kg rucksack on his back, he has walked over 10,000 kilometres till date. “Among others, I cannot forget walking across the Gobi desert and the dense jungle of Indonesia,” he said, adding that he had to draw water from fog using a cup and T-shirt when he was lost in the Gobi desert. Still, he thinks the frost, snowfall, hunger, thirst and fatigue in Tibet are the most unbearable.
He has travelled in dozens of countries in Asia, but he has never stayed in any hotel or guesthouse. He always finds friends in new countries, who offer him bed and meals. He said: “Besides food and bed, I get information about the country.”
From Russia, he travelled across Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia before going across scores of small countries in the Pacific and then to China again.
“Apart from walking, I hitch-hike or get free tickets — for bus, train, ship and even for airplanes in business class. I don’t beg, they offer me,” he said.
He spent most of his money in acquiring a visa. “I wish the whole world terminates the visa system; international travel would become tremendously easy if that happened,” he said. Quite often, language causes problem for him. By using Esperanto language, he contacts the local people, who help him on the way.
After travelling in Nepal, he is planning to go to India, where he aims to work as an actor in Mumbai.
Then, he will proceed to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Africa, Latin America, the USA and Europe. “After completing this round, I will travel around the world on an off-road vehicle,” he said.
He shares his experience by writing articles in a Russian web magazine “Argumenty A Facty”, the remuneration from which goes to his wife and son.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Water, sanitation projects making tardy progress

Water, sanitation projects making tardy progress

Razen Manandhar
Of 527 projects, only 115 will be over by year-end

Kathmandu, October 6:

Work on water and sanitation projects, one of the major sectors of infrastructure development, is not moving at a satisfactory pace in the districts.
A document describing the details of present status of the projects shows that the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) is working on 527 projects. However, only 115 projects will be completed this year. The government is working on 148 old projects and 227 new projects.
The government will spend Rs 1.2 billion to complete the projects, which are expected to benefit 3.5 lakh people.
Water and sanitation projects are underway in all 75 districts, but no district will be able to complete all its projects this year.
An official at the DWSS said that the government undertakes new projects just to “highlight them in progress reports” and make the donors believe that work is in progress. “But they (the government) do not want to complete the projects because it will render many of the project employees jobless,” he said, seeking anonymity.
The DWSS has added 16 projects in the existing five and continuing two projects
in Nuwakot district. But none of the projects will be completed this year.
Eleven projects are underway in Surkhet, 10 in Sindhupalchowk, 8 in Bhaktapur, 7 in Dolkha and 6 in Saptari. However, none of these projects are going to be completed this year.
Sixteen such projects are underway in Morang, 15 in Gulmi, 14 in Gorkha, 12 in Baglung, 8 in Parbat and Darchula, 7 in Lamjung, 6 in Khotang and Bhojpur, 5 in Siraha, Makawanpur and Dhanusha. However, each of these districts will witness the completion of one project this year.
Development region-wise, 19 water and sanitation projects out of 102 in the eastern region, 30 out of 172 in the central region, 36 out of 136 in the western region, 18 out of 65 in the mid-western and 12 out of 52 in the far-western region will witness completion this year.
Asked to comment on this scenario, director-general of the DWSS, Hari Prasad Sharma, said that the department has not been able to meet the targets every year.
He said that the policy of the government of not releasing sufficient budget in all districts was to blame for the pace of progress. According to him, the “progress” in projects is more satisfactory compare to the past.
“We have to say that this much of progress is achievement. The delay in project completion occurs when the political leaders recommend more projects in their respective constituencies and the Ministry of Finance refuses to allocate budget for the completion of the projects,” he said.
The DWSS has a budget of Rs 2,650 million for various projects for the fiscal year 2064/65.