KMC struggles with waste management

Sanitation workers are not prepared for scheduled garbage pickup

Kathmandu, March 28

Sheer negligence of the government towards waste management has posed another health risk to Katmanduities, who have been observing lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Lack of sanitary landfill site inside Kathmandu valley and frequent obstruction by the locals in Sisdol Landfill Site of Okharpauwa, Nuwakot, in disposing garbage has hindered waste management of the valley by Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

After the government imposed nationwide lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19, Okharpauwa locals had warned KMC against transporting and disposing the valley waste at the landfill site.

Sanitation workers, who carry out hazardous taskd, are not prepared for scheduled garbage pickup amid fear of being infected with COVID-19, due to lack of adequate protective gear. They have been living in fear of coronavirus infection as the number of COVID-19 cases grows.

Waste management is one among 19 areas of essential services fixed by the government and the lockdown is not applicable for the agencies and employees working in this sector.

The government has not been able to fully implement provisions related to delivery and supply of essential services. Garbage pickers have also been adopting social distancing in the wake of the disease outbreak.

Kathmandu denizens worry over indiscriminate dumping of waste in residential areas, which could lead to spread of communicable diseases.

KMC has appealed to valley residents to manage household waste in their own homes. But that is not possible in a city where more than half of the population live in rented rooms or houses.

Ministry of Home Affairs claimed that it had solved problems created by locals in Okharpauwa and the valley would be cleared of garbage soon. MoHA yesterday held a meeting with the concerned local levels, including KMC for waste collection, transportation and disposal. It said the government was well prepared to empty household trash bins.

Joint Secretary Kedarnath Sharma, MoHA spokesperson said security personnel would escort garbage trucks to the landfill site.

Waste collected from 18 local levels in the valley has been dumped at Sisdol Landfill Site for the past 13 years. Around 1,000 metric tonnes of waste is generated in the valley on a daily basis. Around 35 private organisations have been collecting waste from doorsteps.