By Razen Manandhar
BHAKTAPUR, Nov 12 - The cultural city of Bhaktapur, one of the most appealing tourist destination of Nepal, could develop a garbage crisis soon if immediate steps are not taken, the locals said.
"Along with urbanisation and the growing tourism industry, use of plastic and other non-biodegradable objects are on the rise. But the local authority has not been working at the necessary pace to keep the possible hazard at bay before it gets out of hand," said a local shop-keeper Kaushal Ratna Bajracharya.
Similarly, historian Dr Purushottam Lochan Shreshta said that the municipality is showing more concern for cleaning tourist areas but the other areas of the city are neglected. "The entrance gates like Sallaghari, Mangal Tirtha and Hanuman Ghat have been turned into dumping sites."
The small yet unique city, just 12 kms east of Kathmandu, is dominated by local farmers. The residents traditionally compost the domestic waste in their backyards so the problem was not apparent earlier. But in recent years, the tendency to use plastic has become a threat to Bhaktapur’s small-scale solid waste management system.
Dr Shrestha said that before the problem escalates, the municipality must provide a permanent dumping site and keep the city free of the garbage heaps.
Bhaktapur city with a population of 70,000 produces around 18 tonnes of garbage daily and dumps it at Bhelukhel of Ward No 11.
An estimated 10 ropanies of land has been used for collecting the garbage from all 17 wards, sorting out the recyclable materials and composting it too. The composting plant does produce some one tonne of compost manure daily which is sold out to local farmers in the planting season but during other seasons the manure remains unsold.
Bhaktapur Municipality (BM) Sanitation In-charge, Dilip Kumar Suwal, said collecting the garbage has been going on but the garbage is not completely managed.
He has perceived the possibility of a hazard. "I don’t say the problem has started yet but the possibility cannot be overlooked," he said.
Bhaktapur Mayor Prem Suwal, said that the municipality is fully committed to control the spreading menace of garbage in the tourist city. The municipality allocated Rs 3 million to acquire a piece of land for a big-scale composting plant, but since the budget is not sufficient, he expects the government assistance.
"The problem of a dumping site must be solved soon. We are doing our best from our side. We have asked the government to assist the municipality in managing the garbage. It depends when we will get a hopeful reply."
[Kathmandu Sunday November 13, 2000 Kartik 28, 2057.]