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The garbage capital of Nepal

The historic capital city of Nepal is stinking. During the last two weeks, the Kathmandu Municipal Corporation did not remove garbage from the streets of the capital, for which, the entire city has virtually turned into a solid waste dumping area, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 14:28 IST
Anirban Roy

Traffic congestion, congested roads, pollution, acute power shortage and drinking water scarcity have always been the cases of anguish for people of Kathmandu. And now, the historic capital city of Nepal is stinking.

During the last two weeks, the Kathmandu Municipal Corporation did not remove garbage from the streets of the capital, for which, the entire city has virtually turned into a solid waste dumping area.

“The city is reeking because of the garbage deposits on the road,” Ramesh Shrestha, a resident of Thamel said, adding, “The western tourists will never visit Nepal if we don’t clear the mess immediately”.

The government claimed that the solid waste disposal has not been possible in the capital as villages close to Sisdole dumping site are obstructing garbage trucks from moving in to the area.

The villagers around the dumping site have put forward a 17-point demand. The demands included guaranteeing government jobs to them and developing basic infrastructure in the area.

The solid-waste dumping site is 28 km west of the capital, and did not see much of development as it is located in the tri-junction of Kathmandu, Dhading and Nuwakot districts. People around the site complained that the smell of the wastes have always made their life difficult.

The Teku transfer station, where the KMC had been dumping waste temporarily, has also run out of capacity, so the civic body is left with no other option but to leave the garbage on the streets.

“The local villagers are not ready to give up their demands,” Rabin Man Shrestha, one of the KMC officials engaged in the negotiation process said. The KMC also does not have any alternate dumping site. Because of the mess, Nepalis are now ashamed of the stinking image of the capital city.

“What will be the country’s image across the globe when the tourists find the entire capital city stinking?” Jagdish Khanal, a student of Tribhuwan University said.

Otherwise, Kathmandu is a major attraction for tourists. The ancient city is also proud to have five UNESCO-notified World Heritage sites.

More than 400 metric tons of solid waste is generated in Kathmandu everyday, and is adding to the problem. The solid wastes dumped on the road by people have now covered the footpaths as well.

People are now scared that the dumping of the solid wastes on Kathmandu’s roads may be cause of outbreak of different diseases.

“The KMC should immediate agree to the demands of the villagers around the dumping ground,” Ranjana Sharma, a school teacher said. Sharma said the civic body should address the garbage disposal problem on a war-footing. “Why cannot the government set up plants in the disposal area to translate the wastes to manures?” she said.