EDITORIAL: Long delay

The authorities should work in concert and take immediate steps to manage the garbage

The lack of a proper landfill site for the capital city has proved to be a major problem. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is preparing to build a permanent landfill site at Bancharedanda. At present, the garbage from 18 municipalities in the Valley is being dumped at the landfill site at Okharpauwa. Garbage had been dumped here since 13 years ago. Although there were plans to use this site for dumping wastes for only two years the wastes is being dumped here still. Due to the frequent altercations of the Okharpauwa locals KMC had a difficult time in managing the garbage. The capital city generates over 300 metric tonnes of garbage every day. Due to frequent tussles between the two the capital’s denizens suffer as wastes accumulate with no solutions in sight. The Okharpauwa locals made demands that could not be met. However, we should understand that nobody wants garbage dumping sites in their backyard.

Previously, the Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development had been given the task of managing the garbage in the city. This entity has, however, been dissolved as we have entered the federal set up. The KMC is gearing up to play the role of a coordinator compelling the government to build a permanent landfill site at Bacharedanda. This should be accorded the due priority it deserves considering how the unmanaged wastes are harmful to the health of the Valley’s residents as well as the environment of the capital city proving to be  eyesores and also emitting a foul smell. The development planners had plans to build the landfill site at Bancharedanda within two years, but so far, little has been done to construct the landfill site which could accommodate the wastes collected in the Valley for at least 50 years.

As of now the general public also need to play a responsible role in managing the garbage by segregating the bio-degradable and non bio-degradable wastes and disposing them at the allocated site. If managed properly the wastes could prove as assets as they could be used as manure and also the production of bio-gas. It is also essential to build recycling plants for such items as plastics and metals. The way the garbage is being managed now calls for devising novel ways in disposing them. Considering the present predicament when the KMC and related bodies are not able the handle the wastes properly this calls for taking the appropriate measures. The reason for this is the long delay for building the permanent landfill site at Bancharedanda. It is difficult to understand why this is happening when the concerned are already aware of the need to build a permanent dumping site at the earliest. Temporary

arrangements for the disposal of garbage are not sufficient. The way garbage is being handled in an ad hoc way is unpardonable. Just blaming others for this situation is not sufficient. The authorities should work in concert and take immediate steps to manage the garbage. Now with the elected local officials in place in the KMC, there are high expectations from the general public that the KMC will succeed in doing the needful.

Lack of preparedness

Dashain is the biggest festival of Nepalis during which hundreds of thousands of people leave the Kathmandu Valley for their hometowns and villages to celebrate the festival and meet their families. But the journey to their destination has always been arduous and the problem of getting tickets from bus counters and pre-booking has remained the same for long. There were lesser number of buses available in all routes where neither the private bus operators nor the government could arrange additional buses to cater services to the passengers.

Police records show that 1.5 million people left the Valley for their homes during the Dashain festival. Police said they had set up help desks at bus-parks and other areas, tried to control the bus operators from charging more than the fares fixed by the government and disseminated useful information to the passengers about the possible cheating by frauds. But these efforts proved to be ineffective as the passengers could not reach home on time due to traffic jams on the highways. People from Butwal to Palpa were stuck on the Siddhartha Highway before and after the festival due to road obstructions. It shows the lack of preparedness in advance.