Thousands of Nepalis residing in Kathmandu Valley literally joined hands on Saturday to clean and protect the Bagmati River, the spiritual lifeline of the country’s capital.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala led over 100,000 residents who had gathered on the banks of the river stretching 28 km from Sundarijal to Chobhar to mark completion of 100 weeks of the campaign to rid the Bagmati of pollution. “The people have woken up to the task and the government would give full support,” he said.
Chairman of ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) KP Sharma Oli and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda also took part in the campaign.
Every Saturday for the past 100 weeks, hundreds of residents, celebrities, politicians and government officials have been taking part to clean the river considered holy by Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal.
The river flows near the sacred Pashupati Temple where Hindus are cremated after dipping the dead body in Bagmati. Like the Ganga in India, water from Bagmati is believed to cleanse people and things.
The river used to be clean and unpolluted till few decades ago, but increasing population and lack of proper waste management led to dumping of human and industrial waste in it for years.
Besides polluting the river, dumping of garbage led to the river getting clogged at several points. The Clean Bagmati campaign was launched in May last year to clean the river and beautify its banks.