The Danda River system is stressed and it needs our attention. This 20 KM long river runs through the open fields, patches of wetlands, and urban forests, and it looks like a healthy eco-system capable of supporting and harboring variety of species of plants and wildlife. However, with the uncontrolled garbage dumping, human waste flow, and industrial discharge taking place along the urban sections of the river, the damage to ecological and/or human health seems quite apparent. The mission of this cause is to call upon everyone to join hands to protect this river, and help stop it from being a victim to increased urbanization process currently underway in and around the Siddharthanagar Municipality. This ecosystem is too valuable to lose, and has a direct implication for the nearby world heritage site of Lumbini.
Protecting Danda River
The PNMF is working with local, national and international partners to build platforms and venues to promote:
- Scientific data collection programs to track water quality: Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP).
- Environmental education and learning by involving school children and civil society.
- Research projects and student internships to study watersheds, plant and bird species, microbes, algae problems, waste management and recycling.
- Development of engineering and bio-medical technologies.
- Innovative awareness strategies, events, and social media campaigns to change attitude and behavior of the public.
- Citizen science and the community engagements.
- Training, conferences, and workshops.
- Riparian corridorial conservation designs and efforts (e.g., bio-park, bird sanctuary).
- Scientific data collection and tracking of air pollution and bio-diversity.
Long-term Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP)
At the heart of this initiative is a long-term Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP), which is a scientific data collection mechanism that will be modeled after a similar program in New Mexico –Bosque Monitoring Ecological Program (BEMP). Data on several water quality parameters will be collected at different spatial locations along the river and over time.To boost the spirit of citizen science, public schools, local colleges and social organizations will be involved in the data collection efforts.
The coordination of all the activities (e.g., data collection and awareness campaigns) will be conducted out of the office of the DEMP & Citizen Science Lab. This office will also maintain the recently created Danda River Bio-gallery.
International Collaborations (DEMP)
The DEMP project is a collaboration between the PNMF foundation and its affiliated research center, the Lumbini Center for Sustainability (LCS), Pratima-Neema Health Institute College (PNMHI) and many local, national and international partners: faculty of the University of New Mexico (UNM), the Nepal Study Center, New Mexico’s Bosque Ecological Monitoring Program (BEMP), and several local partners such as eco-clubs, municipality authorities and public colleges and schools.
A Better Tomorrow
We envision a future of a clean Danda River, which will no longer be a public health threat to the people of Siddharthanagar and its surrounding rural areas. Patches of urban forests, bird sanctuaries, and recreational facilities along the healthy Danda River will promote eco-tourism and improve quality of life. It can be a proud member of an international network of river system that strives to unite people and communities for a similar cause. Expertise and lessons learned here can be emulated elsewhere in Nepal and beyond.
Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP) Scientific Data Collection Protocol Prepared
The summer of 2016 saw a unique collaboration between PNMF and the research team from the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) on a innovative research project. The team collected a baseline data on water quality, hygiene, knowledge, waterborne diseases and various socio-economic and demographic indicators. The data was then analyzed in the NSC’s Development Lab at UNM (Fall 2016) by a team of undergraduate and graduate students to come up with a set of recommendations, including a detailed ecological monitoring protocols: water chemistry, biological assessment, physical assessment of river banks, and geo-morphology. Read more.