Kathmandu, June 8: After a disruption for 10 consecutive days, garbage collection in Kathmandu Valley resumed on Tuesday amid continued protest of the locals of Sisdole and Bancharedanda landfill of Nuwakot.
Altogether 157 trucks carrying 1,221 metric tonnes of valley garbage reached Bancharedanda, the newly constructed landfill site bordering Nuwakot and Dhading districts. Police had to use force to disperse the agitating locals before dumping the waste in the afternoon.
Sarkar Deep Shrestha, in-charge of Landfill Side Division, KMC said after a long struggle, 157 vehicles- both private and public – carrying valley’s waste managed to reach the landfill site of Bancharedanda.
“Around 1,200 metric tonnes of garbage was dumped in the landfill sites today,” he said, adding a few protesting locals were detained.
From the early morning, the locals of Sisdole were obstructing the road leading to Bancharedanda citing that they did not accept the tri-partite agreement reached between the Ministry of Urban Development and people’s representatives of the Kathamndu Valley and Sisdols and Bancharedanda Monday night.
Coordinator of the Sisdole Bancharedanda Struggle Committee Sriram Dhungana claimed that they would not abide by the agreement as it was forged by rejecting the long-standing demands of the locals of the affected areas.
The agreement did not explicitly address the demands of the locals, he claimed. They also said the agreement was forged without the participation of locals of the area affected by the landfill site.
Since the regular waste collection has been halted in the Valley, major streets of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), including New Road, Bag Bazaar, Bhrikutimandap, Koteshwor and Kamalpokhari are now littered with piles of garbage dumped by households, shops, hotels, businesses and offices.
As the door-to-door garbage collection facility came to a halt for about a fortnight, tonnes of solid wastes have been putrefying in the open of the capital.
Every day, the Kathmandu Valley produces 1,200 metric tonnes of garbage, with half of that in KMC alone.
Due to the growing waste disposal standoff, many residents are simply flinging trash onto the ground and roadsides. The residents of the valley have complained that the roadside of the houses and market areas are stinking because of the heaps of garbage.
The situation further worsened after the locals residing near the Teku waste transfer station have padlocked the station citing that the garbage collected from the households in the metropolis brought to the station was not disposed for several days.
All the collected solid waste of the core areas of the city like Ason, Indrachowk, New Road is being temporarily dumped in transfer station and later reloaded in trucks to dump it at the landfill sites.
This is not the first time the Valley has witnessed the problem. Garbage management is one of the key tasks of the metropolitan city. The regular garbage collection of the Valley has been halted time and again for the last five months following the protest of the locals.
Experts have warned that water- and food-borne diseases will spread in Kathmandu Valley if waste management is not done in time.
With the onset of monsoon, the rains have further increased the risk of the disease spreading from garbage, said Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital. Dr. Pun said, “If the situation remains same for few more days, it could cause the outbreak of typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis E, diarrhea and cholera in the capital.”
What is in the agreement?
On Monday night, a tri-partite commitment was signed at the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) under the leadership of Minister Ram Kumari Jhakri, Metropolitan Mayor Balendra Shah and Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol.
The commitment paper was also signed by Rabindra Bohora, Director of Bancharedanda Waste Management Project, Loknath Poudyal, Chief Administrative Officer of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Haridatta Kandel, Chief Administrative Officer of Dhunibensi Municipality.
As per the committee paper, the MoUD agrees to allocate Rs. 425 million for the five landfill affected areas and Rs. 17 million for river control, community building and temple construction and tree plantation for the upcoming fiscal year.
The garbage will be buried under a 15-centimetre layer of soil after dumping to stop stench, land acquisition process will start after receiving the report of environmental impact assessment and on the basis of this report, the Ministry of Health and Population will be requested to run a 10-bed hospital for the locals and then the process of
post-closure of Sisdol will start within six months. Similarly, within a week, the KMC will ensure health insurance of the locals of Wards 1, 3 and 4 of Dhunibensi Municipality and Wards 1, 2 and 3 of Kakani Rural Municipality, which were adversely affected by the landfill site of Sisdol. The infrastructure development grant being provided to these wards earlier will be continued.
Based on the report of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, chemical or biological treatment method will be adopted within 10 days to remove the stench from the landfill site.
Uphill task for newly elected Mayor Balen Shah
Newly elected Mayor Balendra Shah seems committed to addressing the issue of waste management in the city. Even before taking the oath and assuming his office, Shah and Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol visited Sisdole and Bancharedanda landfill sites and spoke with the locals.
He has been relentlessly working to solve the problem. Moreover, he has also announced he would not accept anything in his honour until better waste management is ensured.
According to the personal secretariat of Mayor Shah, every possible initiative is being taken for garbage management.
Bhupadev Shah, personal secretary of Mayor Shah, said they had already told the locals that they were committed to addressing their demands.
– The Rising Nepal