Garbage collection resumes after deal with Okharpauwa locals

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Sep 11, 2017-

After a weeklong halt, the Kathmandu and Lalitpur metropolises finally resumed collection of garbage on Sunday.  

The trash collection was possible after the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and Lalitpur Metropolitan City reached a five-point deal with the locals of Okharpauwa, Nuwakot, according to Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the Environment Division at the KMC. However, he said it would take some time to clear all the piles accumulated over a week. 

“We have started collecting trash from Sunday morning. We will try to take out all the waste out of the Valley as soon as possible,” said Shrestha.

The agreement includes regular spraying of chemicals at the landfill site, tapping the dumped thrashes with soil, arrangement of new ambulance within four months for locals, maintenance of the road connecting the valley with the landfill site and payment of compensation due to the affected families living nearby the landfill site. 

Locals had prevented garbage-carrying trucks from dumping the waste in Sisdole landfill site, blaming the authority for not managing the waste properly. The obstruction led to accumulation of trash at every other nook and cranny of the Valley, emanating foul smell. 

In his election manifesto, KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya had prioritised collection of garbage before sunrise as one of his 101 commitments in his first 100 days in office. However, there has been frequent disruption in garbage collection.

It was the third such obstruction by the Okharpauwa locals this year. Last February, locals had blocked dumping of waste at the landfill site asking the KMC authority to look for an alternative. The row was resolved at the time after the two sides reached a three-point deal that included forming a high-powered committee to find a solution to the problem. 

Again in the first week of August, Okharpauwa residents stopped garbage trucks from entering the landfill site accusing the authorities of not properly managing the garbage especially during monsoon. 

Then in third week of August, garbage disposal at Sisdole landfill site was disrupted after incessant rainfall damaged sections of the road leading to Okharpauwa.

The locals of Nuwakot district express doubts if such frequent agreements as they look for a sustainable solution. 

“We are tired of these futile agreements that would take us nowhere,” said Chandra Bahadur Balami, chairman of Kakani Rural Municipality-1. “We’ve got to find a long-term solution to these problems facing us since the authorities started dumbing garbage here.” 

Apart from the five-point deal, the two sides have also agreed to form a high-powered committee, comprising locals authorities, within a month. Chairmen from wards 1, 2 and 3 of the Kakani Rural Municipality and wards 1 and 3 of Dhunibeshi Municipality, Dhading. The current landfill site, which lies about 26km from Teku Transfer Centre, came into operation in 2005. Initially, it was proposed for only three years.

“It should have been moved to another site. But the concerned authority did not bother to upgrade it nor did they explore alternatives,” complained Balami. 

According to Balami, as the authority did not cover the garbage with mud the foul smell emanating from the landfill site had caused major discomfort to people living around the area for the last 5-6 months. Besides, the metropolises have not paid compensation to families who were displaced two years ago. 

“There have been stacks of agreements on paper. We won’t let this happen anymore. This is our final ultimatum to the concerned authorities. If our demands are not addressed, we will close this landfill site forever,” warned Balami.    

KMC officials, however, assured for abiding by the recent deal and credit absence of local representatives in failure of previous agreements. 

“We used to have different people and groups every time we reached an agreement in the past. Now, we have elected local representatives in place, so we are positive that it will work out,” said KMC’s Shrestha.

Published: 11-09-2017 06:55

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