January 6: Chitwan National Park has been declared plastic-free protected area. The government made such announcement amid a special program in Sauraha. According to the government, the national park has been declared plastic-free area effective from January 1.
Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), along with its partner Coca-Cola in Nepal, the Nepalese Army, WWF Nepal, National Trust For nature Conservation, local buffer zone communities and tourism entrepreneurs supported the initiative led by the Ministry of Forests and Environment to implement Chitwan National Park as the country’s first plastic-free protected area.
The announcement function was attended by the representatives from the local, provincial and federal governments, buffer zone communities, private sector, tourism agencies and civil society organizations.
The Coca-Cola Foundation and Bottlers Nepal Limited said in a statement that they have been supporting HCI for the responsible, ethical and fair supply of collecting and recycling plastic bottles since the past four years.
Dr Ghanashyam Gurung, Country representatives of WWF Nepal stated, “We are looking at local solutions to tackle the world’s global problems, plastic being one of them. By working together at all levels – federal, provincial and local – we need to uphold our individual and institutional commitment and credibility for the successful implementation of this maiden undertaking.”
Collection bins have been placed in numerous locations outside Chitwan National Park for visitors to dispose of any plastic items brought out from the national park. The collected single use plastics, primarily water bottles, will in turn be taken back to collection sites and waste management plants in Chitwan for recycling.
With a plastic bag ban already in effect in Kathmandu Valley and given a successful implementation in Chitwan National Park, the zero-plastics initiative is expected to find further impetus and introduced in other protected areas and regions of Nepal, the statement said.