Chitwan National park becomes Nepal’s First Free- Plastic Protected area
KAROBAR CORRESPONDENT
Monday, Jan 07, 2019
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Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), along with its partner Coca-Cola in Nepal, Nepal Army, WWF Nepal, National Trust For nature Conservation, local buffer zone communities and tourism entrepreneurs supported the initiative led by a ministry of Forests and Environment to implement Chitwan National park as the country’s first plastic-free protected area.
The government announced Chitwan National Park as Nepal’s first national park to free from plastic waste effective from 1st January 2019. The announcement was made by organizing a special program in Sauraha upheld by a joint committee of support made by representatives from local, state and federal government, buffer zone communities, Ministryprivate sector, tourism agencies, and civil society organizations.
For the past 4 years, The Coca-Cola Foundation and Bottlers Nepal Limited have been supporting HCI for the responsible, ethical and fair supply of collecting and recycling plastic bottles.
Dr. Ghanashyam Gurung, Country representatives of WWF Nepal stated, “We are looking at local solutions to tackle the world’s global problems, plastic being one of them. By working together at all levels – federal, state and local – we need to uphold our individual and institutional commitment and credibility for the successful implementation of this maiden undertaking.”
Ms. Shilshila Acharya, CEO of Himalayan Climate Initiative said, “It is estimated that an average of 20 million plastic bags is used every day in Nepal. The use-and-throw culture and pollution created due to single-use-plastics are destroying our planet. I believe that the coming together of all sectors to declare Chitwan National Park as a single-use-plastics free zone is a much-needed step forward, to inspire similar efforts in other protected areas and in entire Nepal.”
Collection bins have been placed in numerous locations outside Chitwan National Park for visitors to dispose of any plastic items brought out from the national park. The collected single-use plastics, primarily water bottles, will plastic-free be taken back to collection sites and waste management plants in Chitwan for recycling.
Mr. Ambuj Singh, Country Director of Coca-Cola in Nepal said, “It’s the right thing to do for our planet, our communities, and our business, Coca-Cola in Nepal shall ensure the recyclable plastic waste collected at Chitwan National Park goes through the right recycling process, while we will together with our partners continue to explore solutions for non-recyclable plastics.”
With a plastic bag ban already in effect in Kathmandu Valley and given a successful implementation in Chitwan National Park, the zero-plastics initiative is expected to find further impetus and introduced in other protected areas and regions of Nepal.