KATHMANDU: Garbage on the road, vehicles on the garbage and the garbage on the vehicle! This is a common view of the Sisdol landfill site in Nuwakot district.
It is more than 15 days the garbage in the federal capital, Kathmandu has been lying uncollected.
In coordination of the metropolis officials, some journalists were taken to the Sisdol landfill site on Sunday.
When we reached the landfill site in about 2 hours from Kathmandu, we could not believe our eyes at the sight of the destination.
To reach at the starting point of dumping site, one has to walk around 400 meters from the Sisdol. However, when we visited the site, we found no place to put our legs but on the garbage from Sisdol itself.
It was not possible to drive any kind of vehicle, big or small. Garbage trucks were stuck in the mud and garbage of the road.
It was doubtful whether they could reach the refuse dump when they saw the wreckage of the vehicle. I didn’t know where the spared part where I could stand.
Committed to reach the real site, we followed trash-covered path ahead.
We fought in the mud, lost our legs, got up again and struggled ahead with our shoes in our hands. The farther we went, the more our feet floated in the mud.
The higher the road, the more muddy the road’ garbage dripped down to the knees in some places.
The road doesn’t look like a road. It took about an hour to cover 400 meters and reach at the mountain of garbage. The garbage was covered with birds and flies.
A thick liquid formed from the rotting garbage was oozing from all corners and was flowing like mud water.
The locals complained that the liquid waste reaches to the farms of the village and gets mixed in the water making people vulnerable to various diseases.
“The sewage reaches to the well, the source of drinking water for many locals. When we drink the water, we often get sick,” Sukumaya Tamang, a local, told Khabarhub.
Looking around from the hill of Sisdol, one can see forests and green fields. The paddy field is covered with greenery; however, the natural scenery seemed to fade with the stench of garbage.
A 70-year-old local woman died on August 22. Locals concluded that she died of cholera. Based on this assessment, they have blocked the road of garbage trucks since last 10 days.
The metropolis collected samples and tested them. The test report did not prove cholera but the obstruction of the locals is still there.
There is really a mountain of garbage in Sisdol. The stench is indescribable. Kathmandu Metropolitan City has been piling garbage in the valley landfill site since 2006. When the landfill site was started it was said that it was there for three years but it has been 17 years.
The Kathmandu Valley produces about 1,100 metric tons of garbage daily. Of this, 75 percent of waste is disposed of in Sisdol.
Garbage has not been delivered to Sisdol even before the local obstruction. Since the onset of the monsoon, the roads have been blocked due to mudslides. That is why garbage has not been collected for more than two weeks.
How long should it continue?
Hari Shrestha, head of the environment department of the metropolis, says that the garbage cannot reach Sisdol in a few days due to road problems.
Shrestha, who reached Sisdol for on-site monitoring, said that there was no choice but to repair the road.
According to him, the road maintenance starts only after the rain stops. It is not possible to get rid of all the garbage in Kathmandu immediately. He requested all to manage garbage at home now.
According to Shrestha, under normal circumstances, 150 to 200 vehicles used to pick up garbage daily, but now it is limited to 50 vehicles. Garbage trucks have to be pushed by an excavator at a height of about 200 meters.
Talks about Banchare Danda as an alternative site
Another landfill site under construction is two kilometers away from Sisdol at Banchare Danda. It is hoped to work as a long-term solution for waste management in the valley.
The Ministry of Urban Development had signed a contract with Lumbini Koshi & Neupane JV in April, 2019 and assigned it to complete the work of landfill site at Banchare Danda in one year. The cost is Rs 346.8 million excluding VAT.
It has been more than two years but the work is not over yet. The Banchare Danda landfill site, which is stretched in 1792 ropanis is at the foot of a hill. The landfill site is estimated to be usable for 25 years.
When we reached at the construction site, we saw 10 people at work. They informed us that the work was in the final stage.
The leachate tank is not ready at the Banchare Danda landfill site yet. However, a water pumping tank is being built.