20.02.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Study shows significant impact of industrial development in Bhairahawa-Lumbini road in Lumbini

The industries in the Bhairahawa-Lumbini road, the area along the highway between Bhairahawa and Lumbini in Nepal’s Rupandehi District, have a major impact on water, soil, air, flora and fauna, health and heritage of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, says a study conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Nepal, on behalf of UNESCO. The study thus, recommends banning carbon emitting industries such as cement, steel and brick producing factories.

The study reveals that out of 57 factories in the region, 15 major industries, including 11 cement factories, two steel factories, one paper processing factory and one noodle producer, can be considered as hazardous for the environment in terms of their production processes and pollutant emissions.

The study also found that industrial operators are releasing untreated waste into the River Dano and its tributaries making the water sources unsuitable for domestic consumption and for wild animals.

Another negative factor highlighted by the study is excessive noise pollution caused by heavy industrial equipment by cement manufacturing plants. In addition, most of the cement factories are found not using regular water sprinklers in order to reduce the negative impact of fugitive industrial emissions.

The study recommends installing monitoring stations to assess the volume and consequences of industrial emissions affecting quality of air, water and overall environment. In order to conserve the natural environment of the Lumbini area and to foster the livelihood of the local communities, the study also recommends classifying the area in several zones including a restricted and several buffer zones.

Finally, the study says that procedures for the review and approval of industrial development projects should be established and that they should be accompanied by an evaluation of their impact on the environment. The study also argues that the local population has gained little from the nearby industries, considering that only 0.8% of the families are found to have benefitted directly. People living nearest to the industrial sites, or working in the industries are at the highest risk of exposure to hazardous industrial by-products such as dust, contact with allergic substances and extreme noise pollution, all of which pose serious health risks.

The full text of the study is available online at:

Study report: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219616e.pdf

Summary in English: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219621e.pdf

Summary in Nepali: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219621NEP.pdf

Lumbini was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1997, on the basis that the archaeological remains “bear a unique testimony” to Lumbini being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and that the sacred area of Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions.

Two other sites in the vicinity to Lumbini, which are closely related to Lord Buddha’s life, Ramagrama (Nawalparasi District) and Tilaurakot (Kapilvastu District) the archaeological remains of ancient Shakya Kingdom are included in the Tentative List, suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The Government of Nepal (GoN) decided in November 2009 that carbon-emitting industries would not be allowed to operate in the Lumbini Protected Zone, a rectangular area extending from the boundary of the Lumbini Project Area (1 mile by 3 miles) to 15 kilometres to the north, east, west and south (within Nepal) as well as in an 800 metre designated area on both sides of the Bhairahawa-Lumbini Road (B-L Road). The GoN also issued a decree that industries operational at the World Heritage Property must respect the Environmental Protection Act and those that failed to do so would face compulsory relocation within two years.


Kathmandu, 19 February 2013

Press release UNESCO/KAT 03/2013




<- Back to: UNESCO Office in Kathmandu
Back to top