THT WATCH: What’s broken?

Kathmandu, May 20:

As any other rivulet in Kathmandu, indiscriminate discharge of wastewater into the Dhobikhola has turned it into a sewerage. Dhobikhola runs from Chabahil to Babarmahal and then to Shankhamul. The banks of this rivulet have been paved, gravelled and encroached by


Houses have been erected at some distance from the banks. The residents living on both sides of the river use Dhobikhola as a safe dumping site and throw all kinds of garbage and sewerage. The whole neighbourhood stinks. These days rainfall has widened the river and washed away accumulated garbage on its sides much to the relief of the nearby residents.

Sanu Dangol, in his 70s, has been living at the bank of Dhobikhola in Babarmahal on and off since she got married at the age of five. Dangol’s family had farmland near the bank. “We lived in a small hut here and used water from the rivulet for all purposes. Back then people didn’t have toilets at home, so the banks were also used as toilet. But then human excreta was used on the fields as fertilisers. With population growth and rapid and haphazard urbanisation, the fields soon turned into densely populated areas and houses discharged waste water into the river. I have never witnessed anyone taking any initiative to clean the area,” she said.

Who is responsible?

Locals living along the banks of the Dhobikhola and those who discharge sewerage lines here are responsible. The Kathmandu municipality which has the responsibility of taking care of the city is also responsible. Bharat Shrestha, a local at Anamnagar -10 and a member of local club Sukunda Yuva Club, says there have been talks in the neighbourhood to clean up the area but no step has been taken so far.