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11:38:00 PM Posted by Kinar Timilsina

"For Nepalis, it's just like wearing sunglasses. It's a must in our really polluted city," Amatya said. "You literally can't make it in this city without one."
Nepal is a fairy-tale land of stunning natural beauty, with hundreds of miles of forested hiking trails and hillside villages filled with rural women who sing folk songs as they tend rice paddies. The snowy peaks of Mount Everest draw climbers from around the world. But a decade of civil war, rampant corruption and lack of consistent environmental policies has turned the serenely beautiful Kathmandu Valley into a harshly polluted one, too. The bowl-shaped valley traps the air, which turns thick from standstill traffic belching thick, black smoke. Global warming threatens the Himalayas, with scientists predicting the glaciers, which provide water to 1.3 billion people from Burma to Pakistan, could disappear within 50 years. Even all those nature-loving travelers and climbers are a problem: Everest's summit is littered with soda cans, tent poles, food containers and other trash the trekkers have left behind.
With Nepal's war now over and a new government in place, many here say that Nepal's newly elected officials should take the lead in educating the world about the glacier melt, telling everyone that the natural beauty that attracts so many visitors may not last.
But at times, achieving a coherent national environmental policy has been elusive. The country's forests, for example, are vanishing at the rate at 540 acres a day, according to Nepal's Department of Forests, in part because before last year's national elections, political parties promised free land and many of the landless farmers started clearing trees. There also has been widespread illegal logging because there is lack of armed forest officers and a lot of money to be made in logging expensive and hard-to-find wood, diplomats and Nepalese officials said.