- Prem Bastola, Raju Jhallu Prassad
Thakurbaba: The nationally acclaimed Bardia National Park, recognized as an outstanding ecotourism destination with the ‘Sustainable Top 100 Destinations Award 2019’ in the ‘Asia-Pacific’ region, is taking comprehensive measures to control plastic materials, waste management, and noise pollution within its tourist region. Thakurbaba Municipality, a picturesque tourist town potentially facing threats, has implemented full-scale control over plastic waste, waste management, and noise pollution emanating from its surroundings.
The Mayor of the municipality, Tilak Ram Lamsal, Deputy Mayor Bina Kumari Bhattarai, and Ward Chairman, along with stakeholders, have decided to ban plastic materials and control noise pollution directly impacting tourism after active interaction in Municapality meeting room. They emphasized measures such as promoting alternatives like cloth bags, plates, and cups in collaboration with tourism businesses, ensuring mandatory disposal bins, restricting disposable plastics and fiber along with DJ sound pollution, prohibiting plastic dumping along highways for incoming tourists, and implementing this control mechanism with the help of local police, highway police, toll development committees, and ward offices.
During the interaction program organized by the municipality, various stakeholders including tourism entrepreneurs, hoteliers, tent business owners, DJ entrepreneurs, community forest user group officials, industrial and trade association officials from Bardia, local police office Bagnaha, Bhurigaun, and health department employees participated.
In his response to the program, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the Chairman of Tourism Development Forum, Bardia, expressed concern about uncontrolled plastic use and emphasized the urgent need for the municipality to take action to prevent the global recognition of Bardia as a top sustainable destinations in Asia-Pacific Region . He urged the municipality to take immediate measures for control. He said, “Bardia is the economic backbone of the region, and we need to make it beautiful and clean. We should control the waste issue and manage it properly.”
Durgaprasad Jaisi, a tent business owner, claimed that noise pollution had not increased due to DJs and suggested regulating it with time and volume control. The police inspector of Baghnaha, Bhurigaun police emphasized the need for strict control of plastic and noise pollution, as it not only affects tourists but also has a serious impact on wildlife.
Deputy Mayor Bhattarai highlighted the municipality’s commitment to making the urban area plastic-free, starting from Ward-9, and gradually extending it to other wards. She also emphasized the implementation of the Environmental and Nature Conservation Act, 2077 BS, and the practical implementation of policy decisions in managing organic and inorganic waste in the municipality. She clarified that the municipality has already disposed of waste in Ward 5, and now, an additional four sites have been identified for improved waste management.
She further stated that the municipality is working to completely ban plastics with a thickness less than 40 microns, restrict the sale and distribution of gutkha-like products , and encourage and marketize the production of bags made of jute and cloth with the municipality’s economic support in Bhurigaun Bazaar. The municipality is also collaborating with Laxmi Duna Topari Industry in Bhurigaun Bazaar to replace plastic and fiber plates, glasses, and utensils in the market.
Kalam Bahadur Bisht, Chairman of Ward-7 and President of the program, stressed the importance of collective efforts from the residents to maintain the charm of Bardia’s shining tourism. He acknowledged the seriousness of the noise issue during the operation of the crusher industry and urged the municipality to take decisive action.