Floodwaters bring waste to Chitwan parkConservationists say if the waste is not cleared up soon, it will affect the ecology and tourism sector of the park area.
The forest area in Baghmara, a major tourist spot for elephant safari near Sauraha in Chitwan, is now littered with plastics and glass bottles. The floods in the Budhi Rapti river that passes through the Chitwan National Park have deposited the garbage in the forest area.
“A huge quantity of garbage has piled up in the forest area and it’s very difficult to clean up. The waste will affect the wildlife if it is not cleared soon,” said Prakash Uprety, the assistant conservation officer who is the chief of the eastern sector office of the Chitwan National Park.
Uprety underscores the urgent need to clear the flood-deposited garbage at the earliest to preserve the wildlife and birds as well as promote tourism in the area.
“The park does not have the means or the resources for a clean-up campaign of this scale,” he said.
Massive floods in the Budhi Rapti river on July 1 brought solid waste with it and deposited it on the river bank areas.
“We are worried that this will affect the tourism sector in the area that is already crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Jit Bahadur Tamang, the chairman of the Baghmara Buffer Zone Community Forest Users’ Committee.
The forest committee started clearing up the waste from Saturday. Tamang said that it would take around 10 days to collect and manage the solid waste piled up in the Baghmara forest area.
“Not only the Baghmara area but several other places across the national park are also littered with solid waste carried by the floodwaters. We are searching for various ways to manage the waste,” said Ananath Baral, chief conservation officer of Chitwan National Park. “Garbage thrown along the river bank areas of Rapti, Narayani and Riu stream have been carried and deposited in the forest and park areas by the floodwaters.”
According to Durga Prasad Ghimire, chairman of Mrigakunja Buffer Zone Consumers Committee in Chitwan National Park, the committee has asked the local units not to throw garbage in the rivers and streams adjacent to the park area.
“But the local units pay no heed to our request. There’s no monitoring mechanism in place to stop the haphazard disposal of garbage in the river bank areas. None of the local units in Chitwan district have a permanent landfill site,” said Ghimire.
According to conservationists, if the waste is not cleared up soon, it will affect the ecology and tourism sector of the park area.
“The garbage deposited in the forests and river bank areas of the park poses a threat to the local ecology and a negative impact on tourists. Local units should be more responsible in managing waste and saving the environment,” said Rishi Tiwari, a tourism entrepreneur in Sauraha.