Despite the rains, the World Environment Day (WED) celebrations took to a resounding feat this year, with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli taking oath and making declaration of the country's ‘Clean Environment Mega Campaign’, en masse together with more than three thousand participants. Accompanying the dais were also the Hon. Minister of Forests and Environment (also NTNC Chairman) – Mr. Shakti Bahadur Basnet; Hon. Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport – Mr. Raghubir Mahaseth; Mayors of Lalitpur and Kathmandu Municipality – Mr. Chiribabu Maharjan and Mr. Bidyasundar Shakya; Member of the National Planning Commission – Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli; Secretary, MoFE – Mr. Bishwa Nath Oli; and Member Secretary, NTNC – Mr. Govinda Gajurel. Amidst the congregation were also high level bureaucrats and conservation related representatives, policy makers, planners, celebrities and conservation enthusiasts, students and teachers, all in solidarity for a clean and green future of the country.
Celebrations commenced with a mass awareness rally, led by Pawan Kali – the elephant from the zoo – after which students and guests took to the main event at the sports ground in Jawalakhel. The theme for this year’s event – ‘Beat Plastic Pollution: If you can't reuse it, refuse it’ – was posited to call on taking responsive actions against the unsustaining burden of plastic pollution levels globally – especially in urban capitals like Kathmandu where air, water and soil pollution levels are ascertained to be unbelievably notorious.
Besides the declaration of the government's Mega Campaign, several other highlights from the event included incredible performances by school students – consisting of winners of the previously held Friends of Zoo (FOZ) song, dance and other performing art competitions. These were followed by a host of awards conferred to students and personalities, including to initiatives and organizations who strive to bring about a profound value on the environment.
Building up to the occasion, this past week, NTNC-Central Zoo closely engaged over a thousand students, artists and nature lovers from across its FOZ network in various activities and competitions that keep an active appreciation and engaging with the environment. These ranged from nature excursions, song and banner competitions, to art workshops among others.
Each year, World Environment Day is celebrated across countries and communities in acknowledgement and reverence of the intricate meaning the environment has in shaping life. This year, the special day was jointly organized under the leadership of the Ministry of Forests and Environment, in coordination with NTNC, Lalitpur Municipality, IUCN Nepal, WWF Hariyo Ban Program, ZSL Nepal, BCN, and STEM Foundation.
Across the country, the WED celebrations took center stage with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister calling on each individual, family and household to take initiative to plant a fruit tree of their liking, so as to drive toward a collective and prosperous green future – “one that is absolutely in sync, and in no way intrusive of our nation’s development aspirations.”