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Cost of pollution: Sirsiya River once boon turns bane to Birgunj people



Birgunj Clock Tower (file photo)

Birgunj, March 31: The Sirsiya River which was a boon to the Birgunj people has now turned blight in the wake of rising pollution.

The river was a source of water for years till recent time, but the industrial corridor along Parsa-Bara area has emptied the drainpipes in it, thereby polluting the water source. The stench emanated from the river is quite intolerable, the locals shared.

For some years, the river stopped running but reeking with sludge and slime. “We used to take bath in the Sirsiya River, wash clothes and dishes on its bank, but…” laments Krishna Kumar Kanu from Chapkaiya of Birgunj, “…it has been difficult to stay and stroll on the river side for some years. We must cover nose to avoid horrible smell.”

Worrying, the industries largely responsible for polluting the river have not been taken legal action except censure. People from two dozens of villages and Birgunj city are on verge of displacement owing to cluttered water source.

Subash Mahato from Birgunj Metropolis-9 also turned remorseful. “We took bath and swam in Sirsiya River during childhood. It has now turned horrible sludge, spreading stench in the vicinity,” he added.

Moreover, Sirsiya River has lost religious and cultural values as well. As the pristine river began spreading putrid smell with pollution, it is no more a holy place to celebrate Chhath festival either. Mahato further complained that even the people’s representatives have not shown interest to address this severe environmental problem.

The people have stopped vegetable farming, while aquatic animals and plants also disappeared.

The river having its origin at Ramban of west Simara, Bara goes to Raxaul, India via Birgunj, Parsa. The garbage and scraps produced from various industries like hide, distillery, textile, ghee, and soap are thrown into the river.

The villages along the corridor and vicinity such as Simara, Bakuliya, Lohusanda, Ramuli, Sagardina, Rampur Tokani, Chhatapipara, Nitanpur, Gamhargawa, Behara, Baluwa, Sirsiya, Tajpur, Bhaluwi, Ramgadhwa, Parwanipur, Ramban, Ramgadhwa, Bindabasini, Ranighat, Ashokbatika, Chapkaiya are most affected by the pollution.

It is worth reminding that as the locals picketed district administration office 13 years back over the growing degradation of Sirsiya River, the office had formed a river monitoring committee. The committee had prepared a report by monitoring the river pollution. It had blamed industries on the river side behind the mess.

In this connection, Assistant Chief District Officer Shiva Prasad Lamsal was approached to respond on it. He vowed the office would direct those behind pollution to stop it.

People from dozens of villages are waiting for environmental justice. It is time to see how the concerned authorities would respond to this crisis. #Nepal #RSS


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