A right time to look for alternative fuel
Nepal is recognized internationally for its high conservation standards in community forestry program. Not long ago, the country’s vast stretch of forest was reduced to half by massive deforestation until community forestry came into the effect: the rate of forest shrinkage was 1.7% per annum in 1978, which decreased to 0.06% in 2000 according to Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.
If the soaring fuel crisis resulting from India's blockade escalates, there is a risk of another massive deforestation as people seek alternative to petroleum products.
Nepal’s forests are already under mounting pressure after two massive earthquakes that struck the country in April this year increased demand for timber for reconstruction and construction-related industries as brick kilns. The shortage of petroleum products may intensify logging to meet energy needs of people in the cities. Although the share of petroleum product is less than 10% as cooking fuel, most people in urban areas heavily rely on LPG gas and kerosene. Village folks use kerosene and firewood with 59% of fuel wood in the country coming from forests. Although biogas has been gaining popularity recently, this option is not available to all. Indeed, of the total annual energy consumed, only 0.56 precent of residential uses is produced from renewable sources.
As Nepal reels under petroleum shortage, it unfortunately does not have many options to weigh. While cleaner energy such as electricity can be an option in long term, for short term, rationing of fuel and increasing fuel efficiency could help. Electric vehicles can be of great use. Cycling has already become poplar mode of travel, and its use has been intensified in the cities after the blockade. In the meantime, this shortage needs to be dealt immediately to prevent illegal logging.
Nepal’s complete dependence on petroleum products as fuel needs change. Biofuels can be explored. Government of Nepal started Biofuel Programme through Alternative Energy Promotion Centre in 2008, however progress remains slow. Nepal’s march to cleaner energy is not only expected but essential as an alternative to petroleum products is strongly felt among public and political circle. This sentiment should be used as an opportunity to tap Nepal's vast hydroelectricity potential (currently Nepal utilizes only 1% of its hydro-electric potential from its vast river system). However, it all depends on political commitment and how well Nepal can invest its scarce resources amidst conflicting priorities.
(Mishra is a Public Health student at The University of Western Australia)
The problem of not cutting trees
A forest is a renewable crop, and just like agriculture, one could harvest old trees and then nurture new seedlings to come in the forest floor and grow into a mature forest again (of course subject to environmental limits which can be established through some methods of assessments and planning). But why doesn’t this simple wisdom prevail in Nepal’s forest governance and management circles?
Dr Hemant R Ojha
From Mecca to Baijanathpur
The year 2016 belongs to one Nepali cricketer in particular – Sandeep Lamichhane. The year saw him grow from a boy to a man. His magical leg-spin bowling during the U19 World Cup was praised by some of the greats of world cricket, even drawing comparison to the spin-legend Shane Warne.
ECHO supporting for 'Open Defecation Free Nepal'
Realising the current situation and aiming to combat the problems of community people, ECHO has come forward as one of the key players to support the people in this VDC along with others so that they regain their ‘honor’ and the government of Nepal succeed in its mega plan ‘open defecation free Nepal’.
Hem Raja - Hotel de l' Annapurna
Somebody nudges me. I wake up and look up with bleary eyes at Mr. Shahdev SSJB Rana holding my uniform blazer in his right hand. Had my skin been white, I would have turned cherry red with a mixture of fear and shame at being caught so red-handed. And that too by the person who was second in position in the hotel food chain, only below Princess Helen Shah herself. Before I could blurt anything out at my Managing Director, he whispers, “Lamichhane, next time I will not give this blazer back for you to wear.”
Menstrual taboo outdated
I have seen my sisters and friends isolated and treated in discriminatory manner during their first menstruation cycle. They were not allowed to look at the sun, to touch water source, flower, fruits, any male family member, nor even hear their voice. The activist may claim the situation has changed and I do agree but still during every month my loved ones turns into untouchables beings.
Physicians are humans too!
To err is human. People make mistakes. Clinicians are no exception. But as soon as a patient or a person enters a doctor’s room, he or she forgets that the doctor too is a human being and expects too much from him or her.