Developing countries like Nepal are facing many challenges as a result of increasing urbanization. The world’s population, is quickly becoming urbanized as people migrate to cities imposing threat to health & environment to some extent. Nepal also tries to tackle these major problems, ensuring cities are livable, which creates supportive environment for healthy behaviors.
The health of the Nepali population is greatly affected by the state of its cities. In cities, there is a notion on ensuring that the city is supportive of cars rather than pedestrians. Increasing noise pollution & increasing use of polythene bags are also major problems that could be seen in urban areas of Nepal. Parks & public spaces are poorly managed & under constant threat of encroachment & exploitation. Finally, there is emerging evidence that the people are switching from fruits & vegetables to processed foods high in fat, sugar, & salt because of their busy life schedule, increased accessibility & advertisements of junk food product & decreased accessibility & promotion of healthy food product causing non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In Nepal 60% of death is caused because of NCDs resulting from a number of factors involving various facets in daily life such as unhealthy diet, smoking, & consumption of alcohol & lack of physical activities.
RECPHEC, with a vision of ensuring people’s rights to health, has been working constantly on public health issues during the last two decades. RECPHEC, has been working on urban health issues like noise pollution, campaign against polythene bags, vehicle regulated zone , junk food advertisement, open spaces & recently on public markets spaces. In addition RECPHEC’S Health Right & Tobacco Control Network in 57-districts has also been advocating on some of these issues.
The major activity undertaken taken this year by RECPHEC was continuation of the “Ktm walks” campaign to promote open streets along with rights of pedestrians. Whereas under advocacy against junk food advertisement a dissemination program of the study conducted on “systematized study of legal provisions of Nepal in the context of junk food advertisement” followed by a national level workshop. Another area RECPHEC is looking forward to advocate is public market spaces.The public markets in Kathmandu are also being threatened by modern concept of cities with super markets. This concept not only decreases easy and affordable accessibility to healthy food but also risk local vendors from their business. Thus, RECPHEC is initiating to advocate for the public markets.
Noise Pollution: an effort of making pollution free Uttaradhanda, India
Identifying the problem on noise pollution, Daliyon Ka Dagriya, India & RECPHEC has been jointly organizing various awareness campaigns in city areas of Uttarakhand State of India to get better understanding of the levels of noise, it’s monitoring & needs for mitigation actions & proper management of noise pollution.
In this process, with the initiation of civil societies, academicians & NGOs, the draft of noise pollution policy of Uttarakhand was handed over to Honb’le Chief Minster Mr. Harish Rawat in February 2015.This policy calls the government to strictly implement the policy to control noise pollution and make some of the zones as noise pollution free zone of the cities located in Uttarakhnad.
Signature Campaign: As a follow up to this initiative & also to pressurize the government, Daliyon Ka Dagriya in coordination with RECPHEC, Nepal, Rights Children Protection Commission, DBS Post Graduate College & Uttaranchal UtthanParisad, Dehradun organized mass rally with signature campaign at Dehradun on 4th of September to pressurize government to make a policy against noise pollution in Uttarkhand State.To pressurize the government from the public level, signature campaign was organized at Dehradun. Mrs. VijayaLaxmiGunsain, State Minister &Vice Chair, Rights Children Protection Commission was present at the program. Chief Guest the Vice Chancellor of Sri DevSuman University & Vice-Chancellor of Medical University Dr. US Rawat called upon youth to play proactive role on implementing noise pollution policy of Uttarakhand.
More than 200-volunteers also participated in the campaign.All the participants gathered in Gandhi Park where the objectives & purpose of the campaigns were highlighted by the organizing members Dr. Mohan Singh Panwar, Associate Professor, HNBGarwal University and Mr. Shanta Lall Mulmi, Executive Director, Ms. Reshma Shakya & FK fellows to DKD Ms. Srijana Bhatta & Sanam Shanker of RECPHEC participated in this program. All the participants & people of Dehradun took part in the Signature Campaign showing their support and demanding noise policy in Uttarakhand State.
Mass Rally: After completing Signature Campaign all the participants, students & organizers move to mass rally with the banners demanding noise pollution control policy. The mass rally started from Gandhi Park and ended at Clock Tower road after the deliberation.
Submission of Memorandum: After completing the Signature Campaign & rally, all the representatives from different organizations along with Dr. Mohan Singh Panwar & Mr. ShantaLallMulmi handover the memorandum to Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Harish Rawat of Uttarkhand State. The collective memorandum was submitted requesting the government of Uttarakhand to implement the noise pollution control policy of Uttarakhand State.
RECPHEC has been working on campaign against polythene bags since 2009. The government of Nepal has been issuing official notices of banning polythene bags in Kathmandu in different dates from many years. This year also on the occasion of New Year 2072(14th April 2015), the government of Nepal announced to ban polythene bags in Kathmandu Valley.
Campaign against Polythene Bags: To aware & also to support decision of government to ban the polythene bags, RECPHEC initiated to implement the ban, polythene bags in three temples viz Bhadrakali in Kathmandu district, Banglamukhi from Lalitpur district & Dattatreya in Bhaktapur district in Kathmandu valley. These areas were chosen on the basis of the people’s mobility & the plastic consumption & importance from view point of conservation of heritage site.
The campaign started with the cleanup in coordination with volunteers & community groups since January 2015. The chains of meeting were organized to make these areas polythene free zone & to come up to the mass rally on the eve of New Year 2072 together with 3-districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur & Bhaktapur) at Bhadrakali. The ban aims at encouraging the use of environment-friendly bags made from paper & fabrics. This campaign was successfully held and has positive response from the people, community & other related stakeholders. Furthermore, the monitoring is to be done as the continuing process of making these areas polythene free zone.
Mass rally was organized to support decision of government to ban the polythene bags in Kathmandu Valley & to flow this message up to the public widely on that day. Rally which went aroundBhadrakali temple-Shahid Gate-New Road-Basantapur-Ason-Bhotahiti-Ratnapark & ended at Bhadrakali temple again. 500-copies brochures were distributed to public in different areas. The program was jointly organized with other local NGOs. The program was jointly organized by RECPHEC with other local NGOs.
Clean up Campaign: 300-kg of waste materials were properly managed, segregated & disposed. There was discussion session with local vendors about the campaign in order to support in banning polythene bags in the temple premises. The other stakeholders also showed concern to make polythene free campaign more sustainable.
Access to Healthy Transportation
Continuation of Successful Campaign “Ktm Walks”: This campaign was continued on 15th April, 2nd October &5th October 2015, in Satgumti (twice) & Kilagal respectively. This attempt was made promote pedestrian areas to create livable communities. The participation & contribution of community & other stakeholders were commendable as this time the campaign was conducted under their own initiation. RECPHEC & other partners facilitated & support the community for this campaign. The continuous effort for this campaign would strengthen our effort to mark the areas pedestrian friendly in long run.
Planning Meeting: Series of planning & preparatory meeting were organized with various stakeholders by the core team including Cycle City Network Nepal (CCNN), Architect Design Association (ADA), Artlab & Volunteer groups etc.
Community Consultation: After first phase of planning, local residents and clubs. Positive responses were received from areas like Kilgal Jyatha as a result 2-events were organized in these areas.
Meeting with partner organization after earthquake: After the earthquake, a meeting was conducted on 20th June 2015 to understand the situation & aftermath from earthquake in the areas targeted for our campaign. After the earthquake partners felt to regulate vehicular movement at least regulated for safety purposes& were very positive toward promoting the pedestrians zone.
Meeting with Journalist:Journalist was briefedon open space & pedestrian rights in relation with natural disaster like earthquake. 4-articles were published in different of daily newspaper of Nepal.
Access to Healthy Food
Report Dissemination on A systematized study of legal provisions of Nepal in the context of junk food advertisement: RECPHEC felt the need to study policies in Nepal regarding junk food advertisement. Thus, a study was conducted with help of legal expert Mr. Jaya Prasad Poudel with the objective to understand how the advertisement is addressed by Nepalese legal system in context of junk food. Based on the study a report dissemination program was then organized amongst the major stakeholder to discuss the issue in wider forum on 13th February 2015.
National Level Policy advocacy workshop on advertisement of junk food in Nepal: A national level policy advocacy workshop was conducted on 27thJuly 2015 to advocate against advertisement of junk food in all kind of existing media in Nepal. This workshop was attended by Hon’ble minister of Health &Population; Mr. Khagaraj Adhikari. The other participant included lawyers, Press Council (President), Chief Judge of Appellate Court, Consumer Forum (President). This was the first time the issue of junk food advertisement was discussed with people who could influence policy making. The workshop ended with positive note & commitment from the dignitaries to look in to the matter.