Trishuli riverbanks are littered with garbageThe river is one of the 100 tourist destinations chosen by the government for the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.
Harihar Singh Rathour
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation in November 2018 unveiled 100 new tourist destinations across 77 districts of the country. The Trishuli River is one of those 100 destinations which is expected to see a major footfall of tourists come 2020.
But if the current situation of the Trishuli riverbanks along the Prithvi Highway is to go by, the area looks far from ready to host tourists. Ninety-six kilometres of the Trishuli river bank area between Narayangadh to Galchhi and Galchhi to Naubise are littered with mounds of garbage.
The highway is lined with plastic and household waste on various parts of the riverbanks. Around 1,600 hotels, resorts and eateries operate in the riverside along the road, and the waste generated from these outlets are known to be the major contributor to pollution in the area.
“The sewage pipes from the riverside hotels and eateries directly enter the river stream. The banks are littered with household waste, as locals, in the absence of a landfill site, have resorted to disposing of waste by and in the river,” said Sushil Thapa, a local of Malekhu.
However, authorities have done nothing to promote and preserve the Trishuli river area, despite the fact that the ministry has already handed over the selected destinations to the local governments for preservation and promotion.
Various organisations have also installed hoarding boards for the promotion of Visit Nepal 2020, requesting stakeholders to keep their area clean. But the ineffectiveness of the messages can be seen when one passes by the highway.
“The highway area has turned into an open dump due to the haphazard disposal of waste,” said Dhurba Subedi, a resident in Gajuri, Dhading. “The whole area reeks of waste.”
According to locals, good carriers (containers) that pass the highway also drop waste along the road.
“The goods-carrying trucks drop waste materials along the highway at night. Nothing is being done to stop them from doing so,” Subedi said.
The representatives of the local body, when questioned about the growing pollution in the Trishuli River area and the repercussions it could have on the ‘Visit 2020 Campaign’, said they do understand the importance of keeping the environment clean but haven’t been able to control the pollution.
They do, however, claim that they have launched campaigns to keep the highway area clean, especially in light of the impending ‘Visit Nepal 2020’ campaign. Pitta Bahadur Dallakoti, chairman of Benighat Rorang Rural Municipality, said the municipality plans to construct a dumping site in the Jogimara area soon.
“We have started to promote the Trishuli river as one of the major tourist destinations in the country. We understand the importance of keeping the Trishuli area clean,” Dallakoti said.
However, Shrawan Tripathi, a social worker of Benighat, said the municipality has not taken the pollution issue seriously.
“Garbage cannot be managed only by raising awareness in the community. There should be proper plans to manage the waste generated by hotels, eateries and individual households,” Tripathi said.