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Overcome shortages

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

The Nepali Times EcoFair was inaugurated at the Nepal Academy on Friday with the ceremonial lighting not of an oil lamp but a solar-powered floodlight system.

Delivering his keynote address, conservationist Anil Chitrakar said the time to complain had long gone. The challenge was to take the message of ecology, renewable energy and sustainable growth to a larger public beyond those who are already converted.

“The strategy should be to convince people that they can save money if they are using renewable energy efficiently,” Chitrakar said, “they will change if it hurts their wallets.”

This view was echoed on Saturday by environmentalist Bhusan Tuladhar in the first of a series of lectures organised in conjuction with the EcoFair. “Let’s face it,” Tuladhar said, “how do we go beyond awareness? How do you convert awareness to behaviour change, we all know the problem we don’t need to talk about it anymore.”

Tuladhar said Kathmandu’s Newar civilization knew how to deal with garbage, and knew the value of recycling and composting. Modern Kathmandu could learn from that traditional, and adapt it for modern circumstances.

“It’s time to dump the idea of a dumping site,” Tuladhar said, “no one is going to give you a place to dump your waste in their backyard anymore.”

He said 70 per cent of Kathmandu’s waste is bio-degradabale organic matter that can be turned into valuable compost. Of the rest, 10 per cent is paper, 10 per cent is plastic and 10 per cent is metal, glass and other material: most of which can also be reecycled.

“We have to abandon this notion that garbage is something you throw away,” Tuladhar said.

The garbage, pollution, lack of water, fuel and electricity are all a given. It doesn’t help anyone to complain about it anymore, he said, we have to ask ourselves what are we doing as individuals to overcome them?

Melamchi isn’t coming anytime soon to augment Kathmandu’s water supply, load-shedding in the winter months is here to stay at least till 2020, so the wise will invest in rainwater-harvesting systems and solar power right now.

Indeed, the EcoFair offers many ideas about sustainable lifestyles and workable examples of how to live with shortages of everything: from solar home lighting to biogas, electric vehicles to organic agriculture. The first of the two-day on Saturday saw about 5,000 visitors, many of them took up the offer of a free entrance if they brought with them 2 kg of waste paper for recycling.

In another lecture, Susanne Bodach, an energy and environment expert with FNCCI, talked about how to reduce the supply demand gap in electricity generation by being more efficient about what we use. Simply reducing system loss and pilferage from the national grid by half would be the same as commissioning a new 100 megawatt hydropower project.

“The era of cheap and abundant energy is over,” Bodach said, “energy efficiency is the cheapest source of energy.”

Another speaker, Ram Prasad Dhital of the Alternate Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), estimated that there are 300,000 inverters in Kathmandu alone that cannibalise power from the grid when there is electricity. “If
we hooked up these inverters to solar cells, we could free up 100 megawatts of power,” he said.

The EcoFair will be on till 5PM Sunday, 12 February. Do visit and inspire yourself.

See also:

EcoFair Day I, a photo feature of the first day of Nepali Times EcoFair

Mean green, Going green is no longer a fad, but a necessity. Meet the exhibitors at Nepali Times eco fair to learn innovative ways to be environment friendly.

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One Response to “Overcome shortages”

  1. Vijoy tuladhar on Says:

    Yes we should inspire ourselves.The abudant sun if one can can utilise this will profit anyone.

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