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Feature: Nepali students promote bicycle-friendly city to save earth

by Sweta Baniya

KATHMANDU, June 29 — As the issue of global climate change is widely concerned, a group of Nepali students have joined their hands to promote the use of bicycles in order to save the environment.

A group of students from Kathmandu University have started a campaign called "Kathmandu Cycle City (KCC) 2020" for making the capital a bicycle-friendly city by 2020.

KCC 2020 campaign was supported by Team for Nature and Wildlife, a non-governmental organization working on different fields of environmental conservation.

Talking to Xinhua Tuesday, Rajan Kathet, founding member of the KCC and Communication Coordinator of the campaign, said they aim to encourage cycling as an eco-friendly and economically efficient means of transportation.

There are 12 members from different colleges in their core committee, and more then 700 member cyclists are on their contact list.

Kathet said it was very hard for them to convince general public of using bicycles.

"It is also because of the social stereotypical concept that bicycle indicates poverty, and it isn't fashionable among youths in Nepal," he added.

Spokesperson of the group Shail Shrestha said that Nepal is geographically cycle-friendly and that many people especially in the plains (Terai region in southern Nepal) ride bicycle.

Nowadays cycling has become a prominent adventure sports in Nepal with more tourists attracted to it, he added.

Kathet and Shrestha both said that they saw an urgent need to act over the issues of the environment as the number of vehicles in the capital Kathmandu Valley keeps rising at a fast pace.

"Our aim is to promote cycling for short-distance travel and commute and at the same time conserve our environment," they said.

The group has been organizing various programs of cycle rallies to increase awareness among general public and encouraging them to use cycles in the daily purpose.

The group recently conducted a cycle rally on the occasion of World Environment Day and previously they have been conducting various cycle rallies on different events.

Shrestha said that they plan to conduct a series of school presentation to remind the students of cycling and its multidimensional benefits.

"We are also planning to conduct different sports events like cycle races, cycle festivals and other events involved youths," he said.

Upon answering a question regarding the success of the campaign, Shrestha said, "Of course 10 years is a long period but the project includes inclusive planning in every transport network in the city, which is definitely time consuming."

"We are not just working for forming cycle lanes in the existing roads but also other cycle infrastructures in the newly-built roads," he added. (PNA/Xinhua) vcs/utb

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