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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Bagmati River

NEPAL: Hindus pledge to clean up sacred Bagmati River

The sacred Bagmati River in Nepal is no longer the rapid flowing waterway it once was.

The river runs (in theory) through the country’s expanding capital, Kathmandu but in recent decades it has suffered from over-extraction, damming, and effluent disposal.

The Friends of the Bagmati association was formed at the time of the celebration of Sacred Gifts in Kathmandu 2000. The group is now developing exciting new initiatives to turn the river’s fortune around and restore its sacred dignity, as well as acting as a central focus for the individual and corporate schemes already underway to help the river.

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." Mohandas Ghandi
As much of the pollution is caused through small–scale abuse by ordinary people, the group is seeking to promote the sacred traditions of the river through celebration and education. Recently it has begun a neighbourhood watch scheme with a view to empowering local citizens to care for their river and its environs.

Through this initiative the development of local participation in clean–up schemes and other good environmental practices will tie into and influence governmental management of the water course.

In February 2004 it was agreed with the very proactive NGO WaterAid that the Friends of the Bagmati association would become a membership initiative, in the hope that this would mean that the NGOs and community groups involved with the issues would work together on saving Nepal's most sacred watercourse.

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Related information

Hindu Statement on Ecology
A formal statement on Hindu beliefs about the environment. "God’s creation is sacred. Humanity does not have the right to destroy what it cannot create."
May 5 2004:
Membership drive to save Bagmati River
NGOs and local communities in Nepal will club together to save the sacred Bagmati.
Mott Mosaic, January 1 2004:
Ways to use Wealth Wisely
The prestigious Mott foundation explains why it supports ARC's work