Lumbini is said to be the location of the birthplace of Buddha, which is located in present day Nepal. The importance of Lumbini is not only marking the region where Siddhartha was born but with his birth it is also where Buddhism itself was born. However, the site has fallen into disarray and ruin, unlike it's more famous pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya where Buddha was said to have awoken from delusion and realized full enlightenment.
In recognition of its religious significance, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Lumbini as a World Heritage Site in 1997. Today, environmental pollution from heavy industry (cement and steel plants) that have located in the Lumbini region of Nepal is degrading air and ground water quality and local agriculture. It is likely impacting human health as well. A campaign has been underway for some years now to stop this desecration of Lumbini's sacred space. As the collective voice of Lumbini's friends around the world, LEPA [Lumbini Environmental Protection Alliance] is writing to humbly request your support in an international effort to protect and safeguard Nepal's Lumbini from the growing impacts of environmental pollution.Impact on Archaeology in Lumbini Area:
This petition is an appeal to Nepal's Ministry of Industry’s Industrial Promotion Board (IPB) to:
(1) create an industry-free zone around Lumbini,
(2) freeze the establishment of new industries outside of this industry-free area, and
(3) strictly monitor existing industrial firms.
The document requests that the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Nepal undertake a continuous, professional industrial pollution monitoring and assessment program of the industries and environment in the Lumbini Road Industrial Corridor, with certain provisions as noted therein.
Air polluting substances (particulate matter, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants) emitted by the factories in Gonaha VDC 6 – 8 and Kamhariya 3 - 6 are likely to damage the Lumbini Ashoka pillar with its inscription and the archaeological remains at the World Heritage Site Lumbini and other archaeological sites. Historic stone structures in Europe, notably the Cathedral of Seville, Spain, have been damaged by air pollution in a manner similar to what is occurring at the ruins of the great Maya cities in Mesoamerica. This is what we will experience shortly.TPJ: Obviously we all know that everything crumbles, dies and disappears forever but I think it is beneficial to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike to maintain historical sites for as long as possible. They are an inspiration to many and help the local economies via tourism. They remind us where we have come from and allow us to better connect with our roots, beliefs and common human heritage. I encourage you to sign this petition if you care about history, humanity, Buddhism, Asian culture, etc. It only takes a few minutes. Please sign the petition by clicking on this sentence. Special thanks to Zen Cohen for bringing this to my attention. Thanks everyone!!
PHOTO CREDIT #1: Ashokan pillar at Lumbini by Buddhism Pilgrimage Site. They have some other great Lumbini photos at their site. I recommend you visit it. The pillar says, "King Piyadasi (Ashoka), beloved of devas, in the 20 year of the coronation, himself made a royal visit, Buddha Sakyamuni having been born here, a stone railing was built and a stone pillar erected to the Bhagavan having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part (only)".
PHOTO CREDIT #2: Garden at Lumbini.