Metropolitan city says it will book all those who dump garbage in public places during the nightKathmandu residents say such drives have been launched in the past as well but with little success.
After widespread public criticism over its indifference about litterbugs, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City says it has restarted issuing tickets to fly-tippers.
The metropolitan city had deployed two teams under Inspector Purna Chandra Bhatta of the Metro Police of the city’s Environment Division for the job.
“We have resumed our drive after complaints regarding people throwing garbage on roadsides and public places during the night,” Hari Kumar Shrestha, chief of the division, told the Post, vowing to continue the campaign.
On Monday, the city police confronted 61 litterbugs at the Juddha Salik and Everest Bank areas in New Road.
“We made them carry the garbage back to their homes. It was the first day of the campaign, so we didn’t ask them to pay fines. We will start fining from now on,” Inspector Bhatta said.
Many locals say the city office’s move is nothing but a gimmick.
Manisha Maskey, a housewife who lives in New Road, said the city authority keeps on making such announcements, but they are never followed through.
“The city has time and again launched campaigns to discourage litterbugs. But after a few days, these campaigns fizzle out,” Maskey said. “I doubt this new plan will end any differently.”
Roadside waste dumping is pervasive in the city. Many people chuck household waste on roadsides during the night, polluting the surroundings.
When the Post asked Bhatta why people were throwing garbage on roadsides during the night, he said they were simply reluctant to pay the garbage disposal fee.
According to the Solid Waste Management Association Nepal, one house pays somewhere between Rs 250 and Rs 450 per month as garbage disposal fee. Hotels and restaurants pay between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 every month depending upon the quantity of waste they produce.
“There are many people who don’t hand their household waste to the garbage collectors. They would rather throw it in public places during the night,” Bhatta told the Post.
On the criticism that the city authority never keeps its word, Bhatta said the latest campaign against litterbugs will continue.
But past records suggest otherwise.
In March last year, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya had publically announced that the city will not spare anyone found throwing waste on roadsides and public places. The mayor’s strong-worded warning was a dud. Kathmandu’s litterbug epidemic showed no sign of retreating.
Before that, in August 2017, the city had announced a fine of up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of maximum three months as punishment for litterbugs. But, due to a lack of enforcement, the law, under the Solid Waste Management Act, 2068, was never used to prosecute litter louts.Bhatta said keeping the city clean requires a collective effort. “We will strictly implement our campaign this time. But members of the public should also play their part. We should know that a dirty city is a reflection of our civic sense,” Bhatta told the Post.