When the talk focuses on Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), it is obvious that the cleanliness and hygiene aspects come to the fore. These are prerequisites to be fulfilled if Kathmandu is to be the rightful owner of the metropolitan label. But, unfortunately, all these years there have been futile deliberations on how cleanliness can be a regular feature rather than an exception. In fact, the crux of the matter is the inability of the metropolitan city
authorities to deal satisfactorily with the residents living in the vicinity of the landfill site. This has resulted in the said inhabitants coming up frequently with their host of demands, the fulfilment of which could pave the way for the Kathmandu garbage to be dumped in the designated site. It was only recently that the metropolis was deluged with uncollected garbage for almost three weeks. Such a state of affairs is disappointing when garbage management has to receive top priority not only to eliminate the associated health hazards but also to keep up the image of a centre of cultural and artistic heritage.
The long-felt need has been to ensure that the law is adequate for effective garbage management. In fact, a draft of an Act had been prepared but it is reported that it has been languishing at the Local Development Ministry for quite some time pending necessary action. It is for this very reason that the draft Act aimed at minimizing the adverse effects on the environment and public health has not been readied to be presented at the Legislature-Parliament for further action. This only suggests that the stop-gap measures will continue without a long-term action plan. According to an official of the KMC, the earlier provision of garbage management became redundant following the declaration that Kathmandu received metropolitan status. That has been cited as the reason for the ad hoc manner the garbage collection and disposal is being conducted in recent times. There is a lack of adequate legal backing for KMC to carry out its task, which might be the reason why the assistance of the government is sought whenever the Okharpauwa residents rise up in arms over their unfulfilled and new list of demands. Despite the autonomous status, KMC does not have the teeth for going the full way when it comes to proper and sustainable garbage management.
Delving further deep, the frequent breakdowns in garbage disposal schedule can be attributed to the lack of a comprehensive legal provision besides the political playground that this sensitive sector has become. One or the other party or group can be seen to be behind the bargaining ploy. This is something which should not have been given the political colour. More than the actual problem with garbage management, the focus shifts from time to time to other interests. For ending such a state, the parties must be committed to acting wisely without condoning the disruptive activities being carried out in their name. This done, the other balls will drop smoothly into the slots, and garbage management will become a smoother affair. Politics should not be allowed to spoil public health and aesthetics.