Garbage disposal a headache

KMC does not seem to have permanent solution in sight

Kathmandu, November 27:

The heaps of stinking garbage that has been piled up for the last five days at different corners of the City will be collected from tomorrow morning after disruptions ranging from few days to weeks for the past few months. But for how long? Even the government authorities are not sure.

“Many of our working days are spent in talks with the locals to resolve the dispute over the dumping site. We have become more like negotiators than municipality officials,” said Dinesh Thapaliya, chief executive officer of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

Nagarjun Thulogao Secondary School at Jeetpurphedi agreed to let the municipality’s trucks pass through their area after an agreement to provide a primary teacher for the school and provide Rs 100,000 for the upgrading of the school building within 15 days.

Though the cabinet has already declared garbage dumping as an essential service and strikes affecting such services are prohibited, the government has failed to contain the protests related to the transport and dumping of garbage.

Many times, locals block the transport of garbage over petty demands that have nothing to do either with the affected people or with the people of the Valley.

Locals had blocked ferrying of garbage for seven days from September 2 last demanding Rs 500,000 donation from the KMC for the treatment of a local, Dinesh Thapa, who was suffering from kidney failure.

A minor dispute between local activists of Nepal Tarun Dal and Young Communist League in Lalitpur left the Valley stinking for eight days from November 6 to 13. Ten days had not passed and the Nagarjun Schools blocked the garbage transportation from November 23 to 27.

“Nobody can predict what will happen next. Any local can block the garbage anytime for apparently any reason,” said Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the environment section of the KMC.

Valley denizens are annoyed by the helplessness of the authorities concerned and are forced to live in filthy and unhygienic environment for many days every year due to the disruptions in garbage disposal.

To find a permanent solution to this problem, the KMC says it is mulling alternative places for dumping site but nothing concrete has come out in this regard so far. Fearing protests from the people concerned of the alternative areas studied by the metropolis even before the plan gets a shape, Shrestha refused to name the places the KMC has studied for making dumping sites.

Thapaliya thinks that the centralised system for garbage management and lack of clear responsibility and duty of the officials and citizens concerned are partly responsible for the recurring problems in garbage management. He said the locals of Okgarpauwa in Nuwakot have been using bargaining tactics time and again to get their demands met due to the lack of an alternative landfill site.