Land encroachment ruins our lakes-Nani Kaji Thapa Chairman-National Lake Conservation Development Committee

Art Culture Interview News

How long have you been the President?

-Well, it has been 3 and half year now.

What work have been accomplished so far?

-We have been working towards the conservation of lakes in the hills, mountains and plains scattered around the country. Also, our main issues are seminars on pollution in and around the lake, building footpath, data collection, beautification of the lakes etc. There are around 5358 lakes in Nepal. Our duty is also to assist in their development and promotion. We have been also publishing brochures, pamphlets etc for the same. We also distribute boats in some cases to the lake committees. Similarly, we have been also looking into improving the financial condition of the local people around. For instance in Rupa lake we have helped in the commercial fishery.

What about accidents in the lakes?

-Yeah, there had been a recent accident in the Begnas lake of Kaski district. There are committee to run such boating activities; they should look into the safety measures. There is one in Pokhara too. The boat drivers need to be professional. The old wooden boats should not be allowed from being operated in the lakes; there are small holes, which leads to sinking. Other safety measures should be also kept in mind before taking a ride.

Most of the lakes are at the verge of extinct?

-Yeah, only fifty percent of the 5358 lakes which appear in the maps exist till the date. The causes could be both human and natural. It could be due to landslide, springs rolling down stones and soil, drying up of water, human activities etc.

So what has been done in this direction?  

-The main problem is that we lack resources i.e limited budget. We also don’t have proper authority. So we cannot work with all our efforts due to the reason. Last year we had the first international seminar on lake conservation in Pokhara. 8 Asian countries had participated in the same. Japan, Myanmar, India, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Sri-lanka, Thailand and Bhutan were the participating members at the forum. The first international level convention of such level regarding the wetland, had taken place in Ramsar of Iran. Bisghare lake of Chitwan and all the nine lakes of Pokhara have been recognized in the Ramsar convention list. The nine lakes of Pohara were added in 2016. Nepal now holds the figure of 10 Ramsar sites in total that are registered in Ramsar list. The Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty providing the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and use of wetland and their resource, was signed on February 2, 1971 in the Ramsar city of Iran. Hence, 2nd February is celebrated as World Wetlands Day.

What is the committee’s major intervention so far?

-We had asked for the evacuation of human settlement in the distance of 65 metres from the Phewa lake. So we had sternly halted the human interference around the lakes, which had actually hampered the conservation part.

Which lake has been facing the most problem?   

-Obviously Pokhara. This is because it is the most popular lake in Nepal and bearing the most effect of pollution. It’s also because the civilization is very close, around the lake. The Bishajare lake is also facing the same problem. But one thing is nice, the community has also become aware now. Therefore, they are also raising voices for the same.

Right now what is the main problem in lake conservation?

– Land encroachment ruins our lakes. It’s is a common problem we are dealing with in case of lake conservation. This also gives a ugly look to the lakes and also leads to pollution. It’s high time to protect the beautiful lakes.