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|Situation analysis of environmental health in Nepal 2009
|Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC)
|Nepal Health Research Council
|Summary: The environment is all the physical, chemical and biological factors external to a person and all the related behaviours. The key to man’s health largely lies in his environment. There are various environmental risk factors causing premature deaths and diseases, especially among the poor and vulnerable groups and has increased health costs. Already, the aggregate environmental health costs associated with poor environmental management are estimated to reach close to 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), representing a significant burden of Nepal’s economy (World Bank, 2008). Poor quality of drinking water, low coverage of sanitary facilities, heavy use of solid biomass fuel for cooking, lack of waste management systems are some of the factors increasing the burden of disease on Nepal’s population of both rural and urban areas. Haphazard and rapid urbanization is increasing in the county resulting environmental deterioration and associated economic problems with it. Different types of vulnerable communities are increasing in the urban areas such as squatter, slum, street children, rag pickers, internally displaced population. Their numbers are growing with miserable living conditions, crowded poor quality housing, and minimal access to water and sanitation. With an increase in the urban population, the demand for environmental services such as drinking water, sanitation, and proper sewerage management can not be met. Contaminated water sources, inadequate sanitation, inadequate management of household and municipal waste, continue to affect human health. Urban air pollution in Kathmandu valley is coming up as a serious problem which exceeds both the national and international standards. And so is the problem of solid waste management. Similarly, indoor air pollution is a threatening issue both in urban and rural areas alike. Health indicators of Nepal show a progress in infant mortality, maternal mortality, and average life expectancy attributable to the increase in the health services rather than an improvement in the environmental conditions. In other words, health care services are focused on curative services rather than on preventive aspects which could have long term impacts on the human health. In the last decades Nepal has adopted a rather comprehensive set of environmental policies and laws that cover a broad range of environmental and other sector issues. There are some gaps and inconsistencies in policies though it has helped during the implementation of the environmental program. The main challenge lies in the effective implementation of the set environmental laws and policies .There is very little emphasis on enforcement and monitoring of the existing laws and by laws. Intersectoral coordination between the perceived responsible bodies like the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Local development, Department of Water Supply and Sewerage, Ministry of Physical Planning and Works and Municipalities are also seen weak.
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|NHRC Research Report
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