A delegation of nine city officials will visit Eugene from Kathmandu, Nepal, May 13-17. The problems of Kathmandu are “a microcosmic view of what the entire planet is going to be facing before we know it,” says Dennis Ramsey, president of Eugene’s Kathmandu Sister City Association.
The visiting delegation will include the mayor of Kathmandu, its city planner and the director of Kathmandu’s environmental program. A photo exhibit featuring Kathmandu at New Zone Gallery on Monday, May 14, is also part of the visit.
By viewing Eugene’s municipal facilities, the visitors from Kathmandu will see how Eugene’s examples of success on issues such as waste management can be used toward creating a more sustainable, healthy city of their own. “Waste is one of our biggest issues on an overpopulated planet,” Ramsey says. And Kathmandu is deep in it.
As a result of civil unrest thanks to lack of resources, Kathmandu has seen a 100 percent increase in population over the past five to seven years. Unless the human need for basic resources is met, Kathmandu will endure more riots, says Ramsey. Overpopulation puts severe pressure on Kathmandu’s city services such as garbage and sewer facilities, and increasing air and water pollution affects the health of Kathmandu’s citizens. Humans need to have a close look at areas of high population like Kathmandu, Ramsey says. “We’re all going to be in the same boat if we don’t snap out of it.”
In addition to meeting with Mayor Kitty Piercy and touring Eugene’s city offices, the delegation will tour various municipal-scale waste management facilities, including COVANTA Waste-to-Energy Plant, Rexius Commercial Composting, EWEB and the Hayden Bridge Water Treatment Plant. “We can show them best practices and how very-well-developed programs look,” says Ramsey. He says the goal is that they are left with a “very clear picture in their minds on how they go about creating [similar facilities] in Kathmandu.”
The public is invited to view photos taken in Kathmandu over a period spanning three generations. This will be an opportunity for anyone to meet the Nepalese delegates and learn about their culture while enjoying Indian and Nepalese food. “It’ll be a cultural event,” says Ramsey, “We want to give this opportunity to anyone in the public arena who wants to come meet the delegates, exchange information and get a general introduction to Nepal.”
The photo exhibition can be seen at New Zone Gallery 164 West Broadway from 6 to 9 pm, May 14. To learn more or to see the itinerary for the delegation, visit www.redi-org.com/EKSCC/