Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Kathmanduites, are you ready to pay for your garbage?

Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Oct 16 - After Kathmandu metropolis faced new slap due to the five successive air accidents in the only international airport, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has finally taken step to bind its citizens with sanitation fee.

"The Authorised Solid Waste Management Committee of KMC has decided today to levy sanitation fee from each household of the metropolitan city to seek people’s help in minimising the volume of garbage," said KMC Executive Officer Hari Prasad Rimal on Monday.

Till now, the around 15 million citizens of the capital pay nothing to KMC for the management of over 300 tonnes of garbage they produce everyday. Only in some specific areas, local contractors levy fee for managing the litter of certain area who in turn deposit 10 percent of the amount at KMC office.

Whereas, KMC spends around Rs 180 million per year for the city’s solid waste management.

Rimal said that the streets of Kathmandu would be divided in five categories and each would have separate rules for the residents. "According to the amount of solid waste they produce, each of the households and firms will have to contribute from Rs 30 to 1000 every month."

He said the people could have done a lot from local level too, to reduce the daily volume of trash by reusing or destroying the biodegradable materials.

He regretted that KMC has not been successful to draw people’s cooperation in minimizing the amount of garbage. "At least in the days when the whole metropolis is suffering from dumping site crisis, people should have been more cooperative."

On this recent decision, Prem Lal Maharjan, the Secretary General of Consumers’ Forum Nepal, said the forum would welcome this decision if KMC levies the fee based on the citizens’ capacity instead of imposing it harshly.

"KMC should have done this long ago. Now it seems that KMC alone cannot solve this bulging problem. Still, if KMC has determined to do it now, I think the citizens will not deny because this will ultimately be beneficial for themselves in long run," he said.

Meanwhile, the garbage of Kathmandu is being piled up in the collection centre at Teku for four days since the pile has not been taken to Guheshwori as usual due to the bird hazards which recently shaved up in the nearby Tribhuwan International Airport.

The hovering vultures and other birds have posed serious threat to the around 300 aircraft daily, taking off or landing in the airport in past two weeks averting some near-fatal disasters. In last fortnight, five planes have escaped major accidents.

KMC officials said the garbage has not been transported to Guheshori since Friday.

Secretary of Sanitation Sub-Committee Solid Waste Management and Resource Mobilisation Centre, Bishombhar Lal Pradhan said the government is committed to provide KMC with an immediate solution to manage the growing pile of garbage very soon.

In addition, he said the construction of road with garbage as filling material at Guheshwori stopped because of bird menace at the airport which has become a national problem.

"Some people indicated a link between the bird hazards in the airport and the filling of the garbage in Guheshwori. So stopped our work," he said.

However, Pradhan claimed that the road construction at Guheshwori is not only the reason behind the growth of bird activity in the airport. "We have been using garbage as filling material since last six months but the problems has suddenly come up."

He said the current season, river pollution, earthworms, growing residence area at Koteshwore were all to be blamed.

The garbage was being used as filling material for a local road construction at Guheshwori-Jorpati area for last six months.
[Kathmandu Tuesday October 17, 2000 Kartik 01, 2057.]