Mon, 22 Jul, 2019

What Should Nepal Learn From Bhutan?

By Sushil Awale

Picture Courtesy: www.gvi.co.uk

Kathmandu is one of the most polluted city in the world. The unplanned urbanization has resulted in crowded housing, mismanaged waste, scarcity of water, and mainly dusty and polluted roads in the valley. With a high population density, these pollution and problems will be on the rise and the government hasn’t been able to produce any effective measures or solution towards these problems. However, looking ahead, the government can make proper planning and implement effective solutions with the new metropolitan cities on the rise across the country and also make a significant improvement in the situation of Kathmandu valley. And, Nepal should look no further than one of the countries in Southeast Asia itself i.e. Bhutan.

Bhutan is the only country whose net carbon emission is negative. This is a remarkable feat which even developed countries in the West haven’t been able to pull off. The total population of Bhutan is 753, 947 and they secrete 2 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. However, the pristine and preserved forests of Bhutan produce 6 million tons of carbon dioxide every year; making the net production negative 4 million tons.

One of the ways Bhutan has been able to achieve this remarkable feat is their commitment to preserving their pristine biodiversity. The Constitution of Bhutan states that 60% of the total land area of Bhutan must be covered with forest areas, whereas the current figure is 72%.

Secondly, Bhutan’s main source of energy is hydro-power thereby resulting in less emission of greenhouse gasses. Moreover, Bhutan has been promoting the use of electric vehicles in the country and as of 2014, more than tenth of the total vehicles are electric.

Bhutan is quite similar to Nepal in terms of geography and biodiversity. Looking from the environmental perspective, Bhutan is an excellent role model for the developing Nepal. Nepal, the second richest country in terms of hydroelectricity generation, hasn’t capitalized on the advantage of this resource. The difficult terrain and small economy of Nepal make it challenging to fully harness the power of hydro energy. But, with proper long-term planning, it is certainly not impossible.

If Nepal becomes a carbon neutral country it will not only help improve the lives of the people but also help preserve our pristine wildlife and biodiversity. Similar to Bhutan, Nepal is also gifted with pristine biodiversity. Instead of creating concrete jungles by destroying the forests, Nepal should focus on developing urban areas with the right balance between nature and man-made things. Moreover, tourism being one of the most important source of economy for Nepal, this wildlife and biodiversity have another reason for preservation.

The global temperature of the Earth was recorded the highest in 2016 and the major contributors to the global warming have made plans to decrease the carbon emissions from their country. Nepal should also follow in the footsteps of Bhutan and become the second carbon neutral country.