Water & TrashA story in Nepal
Nepal harbours the second largest freshwater resource in the world. Still more than half of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. Together with three other storytellers, I started to investigate.
We start our journey in the mountains of Nepal. After a long trip from Kathmandu, we stay in a mountain village all the way up in the North East.
Here we accompany the locals when they go out early morning to get their water from the spring. A long walk down and back up to the village again, this time with enormous amounts of water on their back.
Parents ánd children walk this route every morning. After which the children have to walk another hour to get to school.
And wether people work on the land....
Freshen up after coming back from school...
Taking a nap with their babies....
Or doing the dishes together, while making sure to not spill the water. Everybody is aware of the scarcity of water and the work they have to do to get a new supply.
Heading back towards Kathmandu, we see waste and garbage polluting the waters that we pass.
Looking around in Kathmandu, we can't miss the immense amount of waste lying everywhere.
Even the city's artery, the Bagmati river, is completely clogged with plastic and waste.
Everywhere you look, bottled water is in sight. Wether it's the small 'airline' bottles or the big jugs, the amount of blue plastic is staggering.
The bottles are used for water, for fuel and all kinds of fluids. The amount of plastic waste hitting the streets, is staggering.
We decide to visit a landfill outside of Kathmandu. Overwhelmed by the stench and the incredible contrast between natural mountains and this man made pile of garbage, we take it all in.
Kids are roaming the garbage. Playing with slingshots and trying to stay out of trouble. No school for these young ones.
'Freelance' workers wait for every new load that is brought, in order to seperate the garbage and take out the stuff that can be sold to India, where it will be reused.
And as soon as the children are old enough, having no education, they start helping with the work.
Plastics, cardboard, cloth, it all gets a place and is taken out to make that few cents.
On our way back, we meet Sulav Moktan, CEO of Waste Concern Pvt. He explaines that his company tries to separate waste in order to reduce the supply towards the landfill that we just visited.
All his employees get a reasonable pay and they feel empowered, as they do contribute to a better environment in Kathmandu and Nepal as a whole.
They catch rainwater and have created a simpel but effective way to filter it. This university roof can collect enough water in two days, to provide the school with 4 months of free water.
I do believe it's going to be these local changemakers who will make the real difference in future Nepal.