Govt comes under fire for lack of blaze preparednessThe Parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection has expressed serious concerns over the lack of efforts from the government to control forest fires across the country.
The Parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection has expressed serious concerns over the lack of efforts from the government to control forest fires across the country.
A meeting of the parliamentary body on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) to take urgent measures to control forest fires that have already destroyed around 350,000 hectares of forests in the country over the past 45 days. “Wildfires have emerged as a big threat to forests, local environment and communities living in the proximity in recent years. However, very little or no efforts have been made by the concerned authorities towards mitigating the risks associated with such fires,” said Janak Chaudhary, chair of the Environment Protection Committee.
A satellite image shared by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (Nasa) on Wednesday detected 365 active fires in 43 districts in the past 24-hours in the country. On Tuesday, the number was 335 in 51 districts during the same period.
Experts have stated that this year’s wildfire has been the worst in two decades, as the prolonged dry and windy conditions without rains aggravating the situation. “The forest fire is not new to Nepal. But the climate change has intensified the occurrences and extremities in recent years,” said Sundar Sharma, chair of South Asia Network on Forest Fires.
Despite huge risks to lives, properties and threat to the environment posed by the forest fires every year, Sharma complains, the government has failed to take serious preparedness and control measures, except for relying on rains and using green fronds of leaves at local level to bring the fire under control.
Forest fires in the past weeks have not only destroyed forests and threatened lives but have also triggered the smoke and haze problems across the country Kathmandu Valley.