Polluted tributaries plaguing Bagmati River

KATHMANDU: The Bagmati Clean-up Mega Campaign, which is organised weekly, has been one of the most successful drives of late, but there are concerns whether the campaign will be able to make the Bagmati River clean, as tributaries continue to pollute the holy river.

According to officials at the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of Bagmati Civilisation, the eight polluted tributaries — Manohara, Hanumante, Kodku, Nakhkhu, Balkhu, Bishnumati, Tukucha and Dhobi Khola — are continuously plaguing the Bagmati River.

The Bagmati Clean-Up Mega Campaign, launched on July 19, 2013 by the HPCIDBC, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City and other stakeholders, has already crossed its 100th week.

The stakeholders have been clearing the garbage and testing the water quality of the Bagmati River every Saturday with the help of national and international volunteers.

Bharat Prasad Acharya, Sociologist at the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of Bagmati Civilisation, said sewage and garbage flow from the tributaries pollute the Bagmati River every day.

He suggested that locals living near the tributaries must stop disposing garbage and sewage outlets to decrease the pollution.

“The locals should take initiative to keep the tributaries clean so as to make the Bagmati River clean. All the municipal bodies are also supposed to come up with tributary clean-up plan with the participation of locals,” he said.

Some of the stakeholders have won the bid to clean these tributaries, but they have not even started work. The Project Implementation Directorate under Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited has been given the responsibility to establish gabion walls, sewer pipelines, fencing posts and partial dewatering works in Kodku, Hanumante, Nakhkhu and Tukucha.

The HPCIDBC itself has earned the bid to manage Dhobi Khola. Tender process for the Bishnumati River will be initiated next year, but other tributaries — Balkhu and Manohara — are still awaiting for the stakeholders to take their responsibility, he informed.

LSMC and Karyabinayak Municipality are also carrying out Nakhkhu River Clean-up Campaign every Saturday with the participation of locals since February this year. “If the stakeholders work sincerely to control the pollution of these tributaries, the Bagmati River will be pollution free within three years,” claimed Acharya.

The dysfunctional water treatment plants established at Sundarighat, Kodku and Hanumante have adversely impacted the polluted tributaries. The damaged water treatment plants were not repaired by the government due to lack of budget, say HPCIDBC officials.