Kathmandu, Jun 1 (EFE).- Nepal’s hotel industry on Wednesday announced that it would stop using single-use plastics from December 2024 as a measure to protect the environment and promote a green economy in the Himalayan country.
Products such as water bottles, drinking straws, plastic plates, drink-stirrers, toothbrushes, and combs would not be available in hotel rooms from late 2024, the Hotel Association of Nepal said in a presentation over the initiative.
“The campaign not to use single-use plastics is basically our focus towards a green economy and sustainable tourism,” said Binayak Shah, the vice president of the association, emphasizing that the majority of luxury hotels in Kathmandu have already begun to implement the measure.
As per a report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, around 4.8 million plastic bags are used every day just in Kathmandu.
According to the same organization, around 16 percent of the urban waste in Nepal consists of plastic, amounting of 2.7 tons of plastic waste being produced every day.
Nepal had tried to carry out a campaign to declare the country plastic free by 2015, but it was never implemented.
However, several such initiatives have sprung up in the country, such as the rural municipality of Khumbu Pasanglhamu – where the world’s tallest peak Mt Everest is situated – which banned plastic bags thinner than 30 microns in January 2020.
The Everest region has gained the bad reputation of being the “world’s highest garbage dump,” due to the tons of trash generated every year by thousands of visitors and mountaineers.
The region is visited by nearly 60,000 hikers and mountaineers annually, who leave behind a massive amount of waste, including empty oxygen canisters and bottles, which pollutes the area and local rivers.
This led to the government introducing a norm in 2014 making it obligatory for each member of an expedition to return with at least 8 kilograms of waste from Everest, with each expedition obligated to deposit $4,000 as security, which could be seized if the required trash was not received by authorities.
However, this rule only applies to those who want to climb the Everest and not the trekkers, so that many teams continue to leave garbage on the mountain.
On Apr. 5, the Nepal military carried out a campaign to clean the mountains and have so far collected 30 tons of garbage from the Lhotse, Kanchenjunga and Manaslu mountains. EFE