Monday, January 05, 2009

95% of Kathmandu street children sniff glue

KATHMANDU, Jan 2 - With the onset of winter, it is usual for people to buy warm clothes and heaters to warm up their rooms and snuggle up in the quilt till late morning.
However, looking at skimpily dressed street children, you may wonder how they survive the freezing cold of Kathmandu. But they have their own
way of keeping warm: they sniff dendrite.
Bibek Moktan, 12, who hails from Hetauda, warms up his winter morning by blowing into and inhaling from a plastic bag containing dendrite.
"I sniff one tube (50 grams) of dendrite a day," said Moktan. "When I first tried sniffing, I felt a current flowing inside me, but slowly I got used to it."
Kale Pariyar, 15, from Kalimati, was also sniffing from a dirty plastic with glue inside it. "I sniff, because I want to enjoy as others do,"said Pariyar.
Bibek and Kale are not the only ones who sniff glue to keep warm and to be happy. There are hundreds of children on the streets of the capital addicted to glue despite various health hazards associated with it.
According to a research conducted by Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN), glue sniffing affects various organs including the brain, nervous system, eyes, blood, lungs and heart and even causes death.
However, the number of glue sniffers has gone up dramatically not only on the streets of the capital but also in other urban areas.
According to a CWIN survey, around 95 percent of 1,200 street children in the capital sniff glue, whereas there were only 51.7 percent street children who sniffed in 2002.
Director of Voice of Children, an non-governmental organisation, Krishna Thapa said, "Street children suffer various psychological problems in society before they end up on the streets. They think sniffing glue empowers them to face any vulnerable situation on the street."
Director Thapa also said, "Dendrite is easily accessible in both hardware shops and from street vendors at a very cheap price."
"We have seen street vendors selling small packets of dendrite targeting other street children. But we have no authority to take legal action against them." "The government does not have any legal agency to discourage such acts."
"Until and unless the government builds a strong mechanism to control the sale of glue; and until all organisations working for children ally to create pressure on the government, the problems will not be solved," said Sanu Giri, Programme Officer at CWIN.

Taken from