Signature campaign starts in Birgunj for pollution-free Sirsiya streamThe locals of Birgunj have initiated the campaign with the aim of making the Sirsiya stream and Birgunj city pollution-free.
The locals of Birgunj have started a campaign—Sirsiya Stream Pollution Free Campaign—with an aim to make Sirsiya stream and Birgunj city free of pollution. The locals kicked off the drive with a signature campaign of concerned stakeholders and city residents in Ghantaghar, Birgunj, on Friday.
Surendra Kurmi, a Birgunj local who is also the coordinator of the campaign, said, “We have started the signature campaign to save Sirsiya stream from turning into a dumping ground.”
Industrial waste from the Parsa-Bara Industrial Corridor, which houses over 3,400 factories, has become a major contributor to the pollution of the stream. Most of the industries in the corridor manufacture textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, leather goods, chemicals, liquors, ghee, and soaps.
The locals of Birgunj have been struggling to save the stream for the last two decades. According to Ganesh Patel, a local, the establishment of the industrial corridor in 1979 and its development over the years has proved disastrous for the Sirsiya stream.
Brijeshwor Chaudhary, secretary of the campaign, said that the collected signatures will be handed over to the Prime Minister’s Office. He said, “We are going to launch strong protest programmes to save the stream after the end of the signature campaign.” Campaigners said that the signature campaign will be continued until Saturday.
A month ago, the District Police Office in Parsa arrested a Chinese leather factory operator in Parsa Bara Industrial Corridor and his manager on the charge of polluting the Sirsiya stream in Chorni in Birgunj Metropolitan City. After a few days of arrest, the District Administration Office released them on bail. Both of them were charged under the Public Offence Act.
Locals said that after the arrest of the two businessmen, most of the industries stopped wasting dump in the stream for a few days. “But the industries have again started to dump waste into the stream again,” said Patel. Last year, local campaigners registered cases in the District Court against nine industries operating in the corridor. The campaigners have also filed cases against all 43 industries of the corridor in Birgunj High Court on September 25.
A decade ago, a committee headed by Ritesh Tripathi, a rights activist in Parsa, was formed to mitigate pollution in the stream. The committee had identified 48 sources as major pollutants; 46 of them were factories and industries inside the corridor. The committee had recommended the concerned factories and industries to install wastewater treatment plants, but few industries heeded to the committee’s advice.