Manage waste

Although the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has been quite successful in collecting garbage, the same cannot be said when it comes to its disposal. Environmentalist have been accusing the KMC of dumping garbage along the banks of Bagmati. And the reason given by the Ministry of Local Development for this behaviour is that the government-proposed landfill site at Sisdole is “about to be ready soon.” Officials concerned, however, admit that there are other problems to be solved before this site becomes fully functional. The government’s choice of Sisdole as a landfill site a few years ago has also failed to convince the sceptics. As a result, environmentalists and some officials have been criticising the government as being quite impractical in its approach in selecting this location. To begin with, a bridge needs to be built on the site. Officials also acknowledge the difficulty of transporting garbage to this spot during monsoons. Distance, poor roads and vehicle shortage have been identified as other bottlenecks.

Garbage management has not entirely been a rosy business in Kathmandu. The landfill site at Gokarna cannot be called a runaway success while the measure of success achieved through recycling waste at the Teku Treatment Plant is far from realised. Although, Rs 230 million has been spent so far in constructing the Sisdole dumping site, its future still hangs in the balance as it has been identified by the government as only a medium-term solution to the problem posed by 300-odd tonnes of garbage generated in the capital city on a daily basis. It is surprising that while the Japanese International Cooperation Agency is busy conducting a study at the site to try and upgrade the solid waste management techniques, the KMC, being the agent for managing the solid waste, is unprepared and not ready to use the site. This means it is being developed more as a showpiece than as a practical device dealing with the deluge of garbage. No wonder then that the environmentalists have a reason to be dismayed over the dumping of garbage on the banks of the holy river.

While the awareness for proper garbage management system at the higher level may be there, the problem arising from filth, believe it or not, is partly worsened also by the lack of common people’s civic sense. They have no qualms littering the streets, even at places where there are garbage containers. Perhaps, like in several cities in other countries where people separate biodegradable components before the waste leaves the kitchen, Kathmandu too would benefit from such a practice. The two components are then disposed off in separate containers, before being recycled. There is no harm in adopting a similar approach.