By Naomi MacMurdie
Some 150 youth from Nepal’s Kathmandu region participated in a seminar on March 29, 2022, to commemorate World Water Day and kick off the WASH awareness campaign (a clean water and sanitation program). The forum was hosted by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nepal under the theme, “Groundwater – Making the invisible visible.” Partners included Nepal Water Conservation Foundation, ECV Nepal, Smart WASH Solution, Lions Club of Queens Buddha in New York, Nepal Science Olympiad, and Challenge for Change.
Dr. Chiranjivi Bhattrai (Executive Coordinator, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation) shared his opinion on “Ameliorating the Water Crisis through Ground Water Recharge.” Dr. Bhattrai pointed out that today’s water scarcity can be solved through a “recharge of the ground” and restoration of ponds, wells, and lakes through various techniques discovered both by recent research and ancient technology.
Similarly, Dr. Narayan Bahadur Rajbhandari, Senior Environmental Specialist, presented his paper on Sediment Oxygen Demand. He shared that Nepal is facing the same problem the United States faced 100 years ago. The mixing of drainage and sludge directly into the river has accumulated and become a severe problem in Nepal. Though the river water is treated, there remains the problem of ammonia in water quality.
To tackle Nepal's environmental challenges, speakers highlighted the importance of moral and innovative leadership to conserve water resources. They encouraged youth to be a role model in their home and communities and use their creativity to rethink ways to conserve water resources. Er. Hari Prasad Sharma (CEO, Smart WASH Solution) shared his opinion on “Modality of Water Conservation,” which focused on protecting groundwater sources.
Following the seminar, several COVID-19 and WASH awareness campaigns were initiated under the leadership of 30 youth, mentors, and teachers. The program utilized a robust process of brainstorming, discussion, presentation, and demonstrating techniques to educate communities on “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene,” primarily to protect from various types of water-related diseases, water purification methods, and the proper way to wash hands and dispose of masks.