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More than 2,000 people gathered in Nepal’s capital today in a bid to set a world record for the largest tree hug.

Parliament members, students, office workers and even Buddhist monks took part in the attempt, gathering at a park on the outskirts of Katmandu.

They said they were trying to set the record to celebrate World Environment Day by spreading awareness about the importance of trees.




Thaneswor Guragai, who coordinated the event, said: ‘Our goal is to set a new world record and at the same time spread the message that trees are important for the environment and everyone.’

The previous Guinness World Record for most people hugging trees simultaneously was 936 people in Portland, Oregon, last July.





Participants on Thursday held trees for two minutes as volunteers beat drums at the National Martyrs and Peace Park, on the northeast edge of Katmandu.

Rajan KC, who was among the 20 MPs who took part, said: ‘We are gathered here in our attempt to save the forests and make people aware that trees and forests are important for human civilisation.’

Most of the participants were students in their school uniforms.

Ninth-grader Ganga Pandit said that while she had planted samplings in the past, she felt it was important for her to join the campaign to save existing trees.

The organisers will send photos, video, a signed statement from the Parliament members who were there and the names of the participants to Guinness, which will decide whether to recognise the feat as a new record.

Guragai said it would take about two months to get a recognition certificate.

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Media
More than 2,000 people, mostly students wearing their school uniforms, gathered in Nepal’s capital on Thursday in a bid to set a world record for the largest tree hug.

Parliament members, office workers and even Buddhist monks also took part in the attempt, joining the students at a park on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The participants said they were trying to set the record to celebrate World Environment Day by spreading awareness about the importance of trees.

“Our goal is to set a new world record and at the same time spread the message that trees are important for the environment and everyone,” said Thaneswor Guragai, who coordinated the event. The previous Guinness World Record for most people hugging trees simultaneously was 936 people in Portland, Oregon, last July.

Participants on Thursday held trees for two minutes as volunteers beat drums at the National Martyrs and Peace Park, on the northeast edge of Kathmandu.

“We are gathered here in our attempt to save the forests and make people aware that trees and forests are important for human civilisation,” said Rajan K.C., who was among the 20 Parliament members hugging the trees and monitoring the event.

One of the participating students, Ganga Pandit, said she had planted samplings in the past but felt it was important to join the campaign to save existing trees.

The organisers of Thursday’s event will send photos, video, a signed statement from the Parliament members who were there and the names of the participants to Guinness, which will decide whether to recognise the feat as a new record.

Guragai said it would take about two months to get a recognition certificate from Guinness.

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Joshua Hammer MAY 12, 2016 ISSUE

Kathmandu
by Thomas Bell
London: Haus, 500 pp., $29.95
Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal
by Prashant Jha
London: Hurst, 358 pp., $30.00 (paper) (distributed in the US by Oxford University Press)

Early one morning I set out from Kathmandu in a four-wheel-drive vehicle for Sindhupalchowk district, just east of Gorkha, where some of the worst earthquake damage had occurred. According to government statistics, 96.8 percent of the district’s houses were destroyed, 3,550 people were killed, and thousands injured. I was joined on the journey by Pradip Khatiwada, the coordinator of the National Volunteering Program, one of the many unlicensed groups that are providing building materials and other supplies to villagers who had been abandoned by the Nepali government. His group has seven thousand volunteers, and is active in fourteen out of seventy-five districts. Driving out of the Kathmandu Valley, we passed long lines of motorcyclists waiting to fill their tanks with their allotted five liters of fuel. The blockade had lifted days earlier, but India was sending only 70 percent of its normal fuel supplies, and the shortages continued. “During the worst of the fuel crisis lines were three miles long, and people waited for twelve hours or more,” he told me. “So this is a big improvement.”


A few miles down a dirt track past the heavily damaged district capital, Chautara, we came upon Peepaldada, a hamlet of six hundred people clinging to a hillside overlooking a fertile valley. Ten months after the earthquake, most of the population was still living beneath tarpaulins. “The winter was very difficult for us,” a toothless old man told me. Some had built crude structures using the rubble from their destroyed homes; the neediest had received iron frames from the volunteer group, which they had lined with corrugated tin walls and covered with a tin roof. The only assistance they had received from the government was 10,000 rupees in emergency relief just after the earthquake ($100), 15,000 rupees received in December to get them through the winter, and eight pieces of corrugated tin. Khatiwada, the volunteer coordinator, told me that during the last few weeks the government’s paralysis had begun to ease. The Reconstruction Authority had dispatched teams into the hills to assess damage and had announced a payment of 200,000 rupees to each homeless family. It had also pledged to guarantee loans of up to 2.5 million rupees per family so that they could complete construction of their new houses. Payment was contingent upon the families’ choosing from one of fifteen different earthquake-resistant designs formulated by structural engineers. The government had pledged to build 600,000 houses in the next year, but Khatiwada told me that that goal was unreachable. “It will be more like five years,” he told me.


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After all the difficulties Nepal faced in 2015, all of us are looking forward to a better, brighter and more positive year. So, what kind of changes do you wish to see this year? Till you ponder on this, some known personalties — who have made invaluable contribution to bring positive change in the country — share with The Himalayan Times.
Change you wish for in 2016

I would like to see Nepal giving more emphasis on hydropower, solar power and wind energy production. The goals of making the country independent of fossil fuel should be accomplished. Reconstruction, rebuilding of destroyed cultural and religious monuments should be emphasised. Ongoing protest in Tarai must end fulfilling genuine demands. Discrimination based on race, caste, ethnicity, and religion should end. I want to see Nepal following the path of sustainable development giving more emphasis on greener alternatives, promoting Nepal as a green destination of the world.

How is it possible?

In order to attain the change, an individual while doing business should give importance towards environment, economy and inclusion. If a person believes s/he shouldn’t harm the environment then the environment never gets polluted. Inclusion, economy and environment will guide people to contribute to bring change from an individual level.

Your contribution

Preserving environment by not using plastic bags and working for its effective implementation together with Environment Protection Committee (EPC=), Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and Environment Division are my contributions. I am also working for earthquake victims by constructing resilient homes, distributing relief materials and medicines and creating leaders through impact leadership development course.
— Pradip Khatiwada, Social Activist

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