Ensure people’s right to live in clean environment: NHRC

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Kathmandu, September 9 The National Human Rights Commission today urged the government to ensure people’s right to live in a clean and healthy environment as guaranteed by the constitution.

At a discussion organised by the NHRC today, NHRC officials expressed concern about the adverse impact on public health caused by environment pollution. The discussion focused on Article 35 (4) of the constitution, which guarantees citizens’ right to safe drinking water and sanitation as a fundamental right, and Article 30 (1) which states: Each citizen shall have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment and enjoy harm caused by pollution.

NHRC Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma, who presided over the discussion, said the three levels of government lacked co-ordination to address the issues. He also said that there was a lack of proper mechanism to measure the impact of pollution on general people.

“Although the constitution has guaranteed people’s right to live in healthy environment, lack of laws and policies have also made it difficult to implement the constitutional provision,” he added.

NHRC Spokesperson Mohana Ansari said that the government was oblivious to environmental degradation and was only concerned about pollution.

“We are worried that the government has become a mere spectator to continuing degradation of water resources and damage done to river basins. These are the factors that have a long-term impact on the environment. The government should take immediate steps to address the issues,” said Ansari.

Bhaktapur Municipality Mayor Sunil Prajapati, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Kadgi, Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City Deputy Mayor Gita Satyal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Environment Chandra Man Dangol along with other government officials attended the discussion.

Earlier, the NHRC had held a discussion with stakeholder agencies on the present condition of physical infrastructure development and its impact on environment and human rights.

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