The Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s (KMC) three-day special participatory sanitation campaign kicked off on Monday. This may be an apt topic at a time when stinking garbage heaps along the roadsides have remained uncleared for several weeks, though overall sanitary situation has to do with much more than just the garbage dumps. This campaign expects the participation of over a thousand
residents from each of the designated areas like Thamel and Chabahil. Indeed, the task of keeping the city clean is not possible without the active support of local clubs or organisations, civil society, leaders of political parties, and ordinary city-dwellers.
The lack of civic sense not only reflects poorly on the country’s image but is also a potent source of fatal diseases. The problem with the municipalities has been that such campaigns are often launched as mere propaganda gimmicks or as a part of the foreign-aided programmes. There is nothing bad in the campaigns themselves. But most office-bearers take such sporadic drives as the end-all and be-all of the duties of municipalities. The first elected leadership of KMC post-1990 had spent a hefty sum on beautifying the city, and in the process removed all bills, posters and graffiti, but no sooner was this done, the walls were defaced again. Sustaining such activities is more important. Otherwise, it would become a sheer waste of the taxpayers’ money, affecting the delivery of other essential services. The municipal honchos should first be clear about the city’s priorities.