Garbage dumped along the Trishuli River in this recent photo. Photo: Sarita Shrestha/Republica
DHADING, Sept 3: Road-side shops along the Prithivi Highway in Dhading district have been dumping garbage directly in the Trishuli River, which is popular for white water rafting.
Stakeholders have expressed serious concern over the river’s water becoming increasingly polluted and the highway area being littered with waste in lack of proper waste management system.
People in several markets along the highway including Naubise, Dharke, Mahadevbeshi, Baireni, Gajuri, Malekhu of Dhading and Kurintar and Mugling of Chitwan district have been dumping garbage in the river.
The issue of managing the waste has become more challenging with the rise of population in the market areas. The locals say the increasing number of factories, industries, and market areas along the Prithivi Highway, which is the busiest highway in the country, has made the situation more complicated.
A local activist said roadside littering is an eyesore for tourists who arrive in Dhading district from Kathmandu. It is a mockery of the government’s upcoming Visit Year 2020 campaign, said the activist.
“The locals have been simply dumping their garbage in Trishuli River as it is very easy because the river is just a few meters below their houses and shops. There is also no place designated to dump the garbage of the market,” said Surendra Prasad Tripathi, a local of Malekhu.
“We have been asking the authorities for a proper waste management system in this area.” According to him, they have been regularly pressing the local government to address the problem.
Anyone coming from Kathmandu can see heaps of wastes in almost each market area along the highway. The locals say the elected representatives haven’t taken any serious initiative to address this matter even after almost three years since their election.
A shopkeeper said the municipality and ward offices instead dump their wastes along the highway. People in Gajuri, Benithat, Rorang, Galchhi, Thakre and Dhunibeshi municipalities have been using the highway as their dumping site.
The locals say that the authorities have failed to understand the gravity of the problem even as the highway, which connects the capital with 68 districts of the country, is littered with wastes.
Though some of the local units of Dhading and Chitwan districts have organized some functions aimed at making the locals aware about the need to keep the highway clean, these programs have been limited to publicity instead of making any meaningful impact.
Also, the waste matters produced in the local markets and dumped in the Trishuli River has become detrimental to fish and other aquatic creatures in the river.
Likewise, some wild animals have been reportedly harmed by the polluted water and which they drink.
Chairman of Benighat Rorang Rural Municipality, Pitta Bahadur Dallakoti, claimed that they have already formulated plans and policies to manage degradable as well as non-degradable wastes and that they would immediately implement them.
“We know that the wastes can be turned into a source of income and we are going to launch a cleanup campaign for effective waste management along the highway,” said Dallakoti.
The Waste Management Act, 2068 BS has defined the materials used in electronic and information technology and similar other goods as wastes. Section 4 (2) of the Act has said the responsibility of processing and managing the hazardous, chemical, industrial and medical wastes falls on the organization that produces such wastes.