Bhimdatta Municipality in Kanchanpur has been grappling with waste management problems for the last two decades. Around 11 to 14 tonnes of garbage is generated within the municipality on a daily basis, according to officials at the local unit. The municipality had issued several public notices in the past searching for five bighas of land to construct a dumping site. But none of the landowners in the municipality is willing to provide land plots for that purpose.For a lack of a dumping site, the collected garbage is buried in large pits in the bazaar area.
“These garbage pits are also filled to their capacity now,” said Ganesh Thagunna, an environment officer of Bhimdatta Municipality. “We need a long-term waste disposal solution.” The municipality, under the Rural Urban Development Programme funded by the Asian Development Bank, plans to construct a waste management centre. The local unit has been trying to get the programme off the ground for the last three years but has been unsuccessful for want of a land plot. It had even selected a land plot in the Siddha Community Forest area for the construction of the waste management centre. But the project failed to take off due to protests by the local residents. “The proposed site for the construction of the waste management centre is not appropriate. The local unit should search for other possible sites. In monsoon, floodwaters from the Chure hills enter settlements inside the municipality,” Yagyaraj Joshi, a local resident of Ward No. 7, told the Post. “The floodwaters will bring the garbage onto the streets. If such a situation arises, we will get displaced from the area.” Gorakh Bahadur Singh, the chief engineer of Bhimdatta Municipality Project Implementation Unit, says that the local people’s concerns and protests have left the construction of the waste management centre in limbo.
“The municipality has been searching for land plots for waste management for the last 20 to 25 years. But it hasn’t been successful in finding a location that’s acceptable to all,” Singh said. According to Singh, at least 25 hectares of land is required for the construction of a waste management centre in the area. “To assure the local residents, the municipality organised many observation and sensitisation visits. Over 300 local people living in areas adjacent to the proposed site were taken to visit other dumping sites to make them understand that the construction of such a site in their locality will not have any adverse effects on the residents or the environment,” said the environment officer Thagunna. “But the local people still have reservations which is why the construction of the waste management centre is still on hold.”
Himal Bahadur Chand, the spokesperson of the municipality, says the local unit will continue its efforts to find a suitable dumping site. “We will make efforts to coordinate with the local people and come to an agreeable decision,” said Chand. Around 36 kilometres of road network inside the Bhimdatta Municipality is currently being blacktopped under the Rural Urban Development Programme but development works may be put on hold if the local unit fails to construct a waste management centre. “One of the conditions of the project’s investors is that the municipality should prioritise the construction of a waste management centre,” said Chand. “Infrastructure development projects also stand to be affected if we don’t find a suitable land plot to build our dumping site.”
Source: The Kathmandu Post 27th April 2021