Road intersections in Kathmandu valley have started reeking of garbage, and this has increased the risk of disease outbreak, as Kathmandu Metropolitan City has failed to collect, manage, and dispose the waste piling up in the streets.

The metropolis has not been able to rid the streets of trash effectively for the past one week due to alleged difficultly in transporting waste to the Okharpauwa-based landfill site due to heavy monsoon rains.

According to the Environment Management Department of KMC, only around 50 trucks of garbage are being ferried to the landfill site compared to more than 150 trucks on normal days. The problem is likely to continue in the days ahead.

Hari Kumar Shrestha, EMD chief, said the access road to the landfill site was damaged by incessant rainfall, making it difficult for KMC to transport the waste. Okharpauwa landfill site is the only dumping area for the valley.

Public health experts warned that the garbage piling on the streets could trigger water-borne diseases and advised people to keep their surroundings clean, especially during the monsoon season. They said chances of epidemic outbreak had increased by 60 per cent during the rainy season. Unmanaged waste could trigger the spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A and E.

Piles of garbage can be seen in Putalisadak, Chabahil, Gaushala, Balkhu, Kuleshwor, Kalimati, Kalanki, Tankeshwor, Tripureshwor, Baneshwor, Shantinagar, and Bagbazaar, among other places.

Pedestrians passing these places, street vendors and businessmen who own stores nearby have been bearing the brunt of the foul smell from the festering garbage.

KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya refused to own full responsibility for the recurring problems in waste management. "Had the government completed the under-construction landfill site at Bancharedanda on the border of Nuwakot and Dhading districts and handed it over to KMC within the stipulated time, we would not have faced this situation. We admit to lower collection of waste and inability to transport it to Okharpauwa landfill site compared to normal times. KMC is not the only entity to be blamed for this situation. We also need support from the federal and provincial governments," he said.

Earlier, the Ministry of Urban Development had assured that it would complete the construction of Bancharedanda-based landfill site within 2020 for sustainable management of waste produced in the valley, but to no avail.

The government has planned to close down the old landfill site after the new one comes into operation.

Meanwhile, KMC said efforts were on to manage the garbage that have piled on the streets as early as possible.

It also urged the city denizens not to haphazardly dispose waste generated from their homes out onto the streets.

Around 1,000 metric tonnes of waste is generated in the valley on a daily basis.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 20 2021, of The Himalayan Times.