Nepal’s environment is threatened by economic development and population growth. The forest area has decreased by 40 to 50% since the 1960’s. Firewood harvesting, agricultural cultivation and overgrazing are the major causes. In addition to the shrinking of habitats for endangered plant and animal species, deforestation leads to soil erosion: In the case of heavy moss rains, the topsoil is washed away and mudslides and landslides occur again and again. Many regions are affected by flooding. The risk of flooding is also increasing due to the melting of the Himalayan glaciers as a result of climate change.
The scarcity of arable land is exacerbated by the degradation of soils, and there is also water pollution from the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
The Kathmandu Valley suffers from several ecological problems. The high level of air pollution from traffic, industry and waste incineration threatens the health of the residents. The wastewater from industry and households is discharged more or less untreated directly into the rivers. Garbage dumps on the banks also endanger the quality of the river water. There are serious bottlenecks in the water supply.
The Himalayan region, one of the most densely populated mountain ecosystems on earth, is extremely vulnerable to the effects of degradation and climate change. Their ecological balance is additionally affected by the negative effects of tourism, such as the increased consumption of resources and the waste leftovers in remote regions.
Environmental awareness in politics is comparatively high: the constitution gives priority to environmental protection and assigns the state the task of preventing further damage. On October 5, 2016, Nepal ratified the agreement adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. Numerous environmental protection projects are implemented by the non-governmental organizations.
According to philosophynearby, to prevent the forests from being cut down, Nepal relies on renewable energies. Around 7% of the rural population is supplied with electricity from mini hydropower plants or solar systems.
In the Environmental Performance Index for 2020, Nepal is ranked 145th out of 180 countries.
Earthquake disaster 2015
On April 25, 2015, a 7.9 magnitude quake shook the Himalayan region. Several aftershocks followed. The Himalayan region was hit hard by the worst earthquake in over 80 years. Over 8,000 people were killed and over 14,000 people injured. The earthquake hit 39 of a total of 75 regions in the country. A state of emergency has been declared in the affected areas, which are home to around 6.6 million people. The infrastructure of Nepal was largely destroyed. The severe earthquakes have led to an economic collapse that only affects the country will recover in the long term.
The human rights organizations in Nepal are calling on the government to clarify the fate of those who disappeared, who were abducted and murdered in the civil war. The government does not comply with these demands. The military and the former rebels protect the perpetrators in their ranks. There is a climate of impunity.
All caste discrimination is prohibited by the Nepalese constitution. Nevertheless, members of “ untouchable castes ” (Dalits) are often excluded.
Until 1990, Nepal’s media was strictly censored. Today the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, information and press, and the media landscape has expanded considerably.
Important media are the daily newspapers The Kathmandu Post, Anapurna Post and the state-run The Rising Nepal, as well as the weekly newspapers Nepali Times and People’s Review. The distribution of print media is limited due to the high rate of illiteracy. Journalists are often put under pressure by the Maoists as soon as the party is critically reported. Since the end of March 2020, several media workers in Nepal have been threatened, censored or physically attacked in connection with their reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic.
The TV reaches about 20% of the Nepalese population. In addition to the state-run Nepal Television, there are numerous private television stations, such as Nepal 1, Sagartmatha TV and Kantipur TV.
The radio has the greatest penetration and the greatest influence on the formation of political opinion. Radio Nepal (founded in 1951) has 18 broadcasting stations and broadcasts 20 hours a day in 20 languages. Private radio stations include Himalaya Broadcasting, Hits FM, Radio Kantipur, Radio Lumbini, Image FM and Radio Sagarmatha.
In press freedom index in 2020 of Reporters Without Borders is Nepal on the 112th place from 180 countries.
Telecommunications, internet, mail
There are internet cafes in all larger towns and areas visited by tourists, some of which have good connection speeds. In Kathmandu in particular, many Internet cafes have broadband connections and you can also make calls over the Internet.
There are four cellular operators in Nepal: Nepal Telecommunications Corporation (GSM 900 / UMTS2100), Nepal Satellite Telecom (GSM 900/1800), Smart Telecom (GSM 900) and NCell Private Ltd. (GSM 900/1800). The network coverage is limited to all, except Nepal Telecommunications Corporation, only to the larger cities. With a copy of your passport you can buy Nepalese SIM cards.
There are post offices in most towns.