City authority is planting 500 saplings in its latest greenery campaignAll past plantation campaigns have failed miserably because nobody was there to take care of the saplings.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City is planting 500 saplings along the Tripureshwor-Durbarmarg road section to promote greenery in the city.
As part of the tree plantation campaign, the city authority, in partnership with the Nepal Army and the Department of Environment, planted 153 saplings from Tripureshwor to Shahid Gate on Thursday.
The campaign was jointly inaugurated by Minister for Forest and Environment Shakti Basnet and Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya.
Saplings of different varieties, including Camphor Bottlebrushes and Jacaranda, were planted on the first day. The saplings were provided by the Department of Environment.
The Nepal Army will tend to the saplings until they are fully grown before handing them over to the care of the city authority, Brig Gen Bigyan Dev Pandey, the spokesperson of the Nepal Army, said.
“The Nepal Army has already planted 95,556 plants in its barracks and their surroundings in all seven provinces in the last two months. This time, we are working with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City to make the greenery campaign a success,” said Pandey.
Mayor Shakya said his office is committed to giving continuity to the campaign.
“This is a long-term project to promote greenery in our city. It is one of the many programmes that the city office will be undertaking for a clean and green Kathmandu to mark Visit Nepal 2020,” he said.
It should, however, be noted that this is not the first time the city mayor has made such an announcement. Promoting greenery in Kathmandu was featured in his 2017 election manifesto, where he vowed to accomplish 101 tasks within his first 100 days in office.
In November 2017, the city had launched a plantation campaign under which saplings were planted at places like Ratnapark, Jamal, New Road and Sundhara. The plants withered within a matter of a few weeks because nobody took care of them.
And it’s not just the city authority that has unsuccessfully launched greenery projects in Kathmandu.
On June 29, on the occasion of National Tree Plantation Day, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Environment Minister Basnet had led a tree plantation event in which 2,681 saplings were planted in different parts of the city. Again, the saplings died due to the lack of care and supervision
The city’s latest plantation project also comes at a time when the government is preparing to fell more than 20,000 trees along the 8.2km Kalanki-Maharajgunj section of the Ring Road for the Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project. Environmentalists and activists, who have been vociferously protesting the Ring Road expansion project at the expense of these trees, do not expect much from the city’s most recent plantation campaign.
“If you look at the city's earlier greenery campaigns, most of them were unsuccessful because no one watered and took care of the plants,” said Nivesh Dugar, an environmental engineer associated with the Society of Environmental Engineers of Nepal. "Planting trees is certainly a good move, but I am more concerned about what the city has planned to ensure sustained greenery."