Locals prevent Gorkha Municipality from dumping garbage in HattigaudaThe municipality has been using the forest area in Hattigauda as a dumping site without proper disposal system, which has led to waste pollution in the forest, say locals.
The locals of Hattigauda for the past week have been protesting against the municipality’s use of the local forest area as a dumping site. They have prevented the municipality from dumping solid wastes on the site from February 16, demanding scientific management of the dumping site.
“Dumping garbage in the forest without proper management leaves the area at high risk of disease outbreaks. The municipality in the past had assured us that they would adopt proper garbage disposal methods, but they have yet to do so,” said Ganesh Thapa, a local of Hattigauda.
According to him, as many as 15 sal trees have dried up in the forest area because of the waste pollution.
Various social organisations, including Padaledanda Bikas Sanstha, Kalyankari Women’s Group, Shikhar Women’s Group and Samjhauta Youth Club, have been protesting against the municipality’s poor garbage management system and has barred the local unit from dumping garbage at the forest.
“We want the municipality to manage the dumping site properly,” said Thapa.
The municipality has been dumping around three trucks of solid wastes at the forest area every day. According to the locals, the municipality had fenced off a plot with barbed wires two years ago, but the fence collapsed as the wooden support poles decayed.
“Now, there is no fence to keep the garbage from getting scattered or swept away. Rainwater sweeps the garbage to Ludikhola during the rainy season. In the dry season, heaps of garbage pose a risk of forest fires,” said Narayan Kamar, chairman of Padaledanda Bikas Sanstha.
The gridlock between the locals of Hattigauda and the municipality has affected the population of Gorkha Bazaar, the district headquarters, and other local units in the district.
“A tractor used to collect garbage every two or three days, but for the past week, our waste hasn’t been collected. I have a week’s worth of garbage piled at my house,” said Sanu Panthi of Gorkha Bazaar.
The municipality used to provide Rs 300,000 for the development of the local communities in Hattigauda in the past. But the municipality has not allocated the amount after the local elections of 2017.
Dhruba Ghimire, environment officer at Gorkha Municipality, said that discussions were underway to resolve the dispute regarding the dumping site.
“The locals have been demanding that we close the site, stating that it is not properly managed. We are holding talks with the locals in coordination with the ward office,” Ghimire said.
However, Ghimire added that the municipality is searching for land to build a well-managed landfill site.
“We are looking for possible sites. We will soon construct a landfill site for the scientific management of waste,” said Ghimire. The municipality, however, is planning to use the landfill site in Hattiguada for the time being. The local body has allocated Rs 2.5 million budget in the current fiscal year for waste management.