Bharatpur’s plan to construct modern landfill site fails to take offThree-and-a-half years and seven municipal meetings later, the main market areas of Narayangadh and Bharatpur are far from being garbage free.
During the first municipal meeting of Bharatpur Metropolitan City in January 2018, the newly elected mayor Renu Dahal had announced that the city would construct a modern landfill site to manage solid waste. In her policy and programme, the mayor had proposed building a landfill site on 15 bighas of land belonging to Jaldevi forest in Ward No 2.
Dahal had announced various programmes like waste management inside the house, clean Bharatpur, green Bharatpur and my waste my responsibility during the second municipal meeting held in June 2018. The metropolitan office had promised to turn Bharatpur into an environment-friendly city within four years. Dahal also informed during the meeting that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the landfill’s construction would be prepared with the financial assistance of the South Korean government.
Three-and-a-half years and seven municipal meetings later, the main market areas of Narayangadh and Bharatpur are far from being garbage free.
The metropolitan city has been dumping its garbage on the banks of the Narayani river for many years, polluting the river and its surrounding areas.
Garbage management in the metropolis was also included in the review of policy and programme during the seventh municipal meeting held on January 11 this year. Addressing the meeting, Dahal said that the DPR for the landfill site construction had already been prepared and that construction works would start soon.
Organising a press meet on Tuesday, Dahal informed that the South Korean government has agreed in principle to provide $10 million for the construction of the landfill site.
“The construction work of the landfill site will be initiated soon. The metropolis will then be able to rid itself of this long-standing problem,” said Dahal. But she was not able to give a concrete timeline on the construction of the said landfill site.
The metropolis had signed an agreement in August 2018 with a South Korean company to prepare the DPR for the landfill site construction. It was agreed that the DPR would be prepared within 15 months. During a function organised to sign the agreement paper, Dahal said that the municipality would urge the company to prepare the DPR within a year and complete the landfill site construction within three years. But it took 27 months to prepare the DPR and the construction work is yet to begin.
It is still not clear when the construction work will begin.
“The process of receiving assistance from the South Korean government should go through the federal ministry of local development. Lalbabu Pandit was the minister when we began the process. Two different ministers have changed since. There are new employees in the ministry. It has been difficult to accelerate the process,” said Dahal.
According to the data of the environment section of Bharatpur Metropolitan City Office, 70 to 80 tonnes of garbage are being collected in the metropolis on a daily basis. Garbage, both renewable and non-renewable, is being deposited on the banks of Narayani River.
“Aquatic life has been greatly affected by the increasing level of pollution in the river. It has also endangered the few gharials and dolphins that live in the river,” said Ananath Baral, chief conservation officer of Chitwan National Park.
According to Baral, the river pollution has also affected other wildlife in the Park. During winter, the river shrinks and the garbage is deposited two to three kilometres along the river banks. During the rainy season, the river expands towards the settlements and inundates many houses, say local residents.
A few months ago, local residents of Sansarimai near Bahaghare Narayanghat staged demonstrations after garbage from the bazaar was disposed of in the river area.
“We had put a stop on garbage disposal in the river due to water and environmental pollution. But the metropolis has started dumping waste on the river banks again,” said Yogendra Paudel, chairman of Sansarimai Tol Reform Committee.