Post-disaster debris

The debris could be gainfully used by recycling or reusing in order to rebuild the damaged structures, thereby boosting the economy

The mammoth earthquake of April 25 and several strong aftershocks, besides causing enormous human casualties have damaged and destroyed many buildings and houses. These have left a lot of debris strewn all over the affected areas. That the amount of this post-disaster debris is 11 times more than what the Kathmandu Valley produces in a year has created a challenge to manage the huge amount of wastes and debris. According to the Solid Waste Management Support (SWMTSC) the debris generated could be at least four million tonnes. Therefore, the management of this large amount of debris would not be easy as there is very little open space in the valley to dispose of them. So far, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has been disposing of them in the open spaces in Chobhar. Parks, the Ring Road and corridor could be used as open spaces to dispose of the debris generated temporarily.

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Many house and building owners are dismantling them on their own leading to the accumulation of debris mostly in the form of bricks, stones, concrete blocks, tile steel and zinc sheets. According to the available figures as many as 99,331 buildings were destroyed partially or fully. The damaged buildings are mostly being demolished by their owners on their in a haphazard manner posing a threat to people walking in the streets as well as those residing in nearby houses. Precautions should be taken to deal with the risky wastes like gas cylinders, building materials with asbestos, pesticides, acids and batteries and chemicals from the industries. Managing the hospital wastes is also an arduous task. Experts suggest the segregation of managing these by using modern technology for sustainable waste management.

Although about three months have elapsed after the killer earthquakes indisposed debris are lying all over the capital city obstructing traffic as well as pedestrians. We could reuse and recycle much of the debris that has been generated. For examples, new houses and buildings that confirm to the building codes could be constructed with the debris. If these are not managed properly the health of those who survived could be in danger which calls for immediate management of the post-disaster debris. While disposing of the debris care should be taken to keep the ground water intact as well as soil structure and the environment when dumping the debris in open spaces. The debris could be gainfully used by recycling or reusing in order to rebuild the damaged structures, thereby boosting the economy of the country. All efforts should be made to protect the environment and the natural resources. Meanwhile, the SWMTSC has prepared guidelines to manage the debris and submitted them to the government for implementation and also for valuable feedback from the people as well. The debris that cannot be reused or recycled should be disposed of as soon as possible. The government should be supported by the people in this endeavor. If required assistance from foreign countries, particularly our neighbors, should be sought as the country is hard put to manage the disaster of this large scale.

Empowering youths

President Ram Baran Yadav authenticated the National Youth Council Act, 2015 which will come into effect on the 91st day of its authentication. The president authenticated the Act coinciding with the International Youth Day. The Act aims to protect and promote the rights of youths aged between 16 and 40. After the Act comes into force, the NYC will prepare a national policy on youth to be endorsed by the council of ministers. The 13-member NYC will be chaired by the Minister for Youths and Sports and the four-member executive committee will have a vice-chairman and three others as members to oversee the overall activities of the youth related programmes to be organized up to the district level.

READ ALSO: National Youth Council Act made public

The NYC aims to engage the youth population in voluntary services, social and development works. The youth organizations affiliated to various political parties had been calling for a law addressing the issues related to youth who can contribute to the nation-building process, particularly in times of crisis when the nation requires many volunteers.