Yarsa collectors falling ill due to mismanagement of garbage

Published On: June 12, 2017 05:30 AM NPT By: Suman Malla

MUGU, June 11:  Lack of proper management of waste materials, garbage and human feces in various pasturelands of eastern Mugu is not just giving rise to environmental pollution but is also affecting the health of Yarsa collectors.

It has been found that the locals going to collect the valuable herb Yarsa throw plastics, glasses and other non-disposable items in the hills. As it is extremely cold in the mountains, locals are found practicing open defecation. As a result, many of them fall ill. They suffer from diarrhea, dysentery and various other stomach disorders. 

According to Singh Bahadur Buddha, principal of Saraswati Primary School of Mugum Karmarong Rural Municipality, pollution has compelled many Yarsa collectors to return back. It is quite challenging for Yarsa collectors to manage timber to cook food so they prefer eating noodles, beaten rice, biscuits and other dry foods. There is no proper area for disposal and they throw garbage in open areas, resulting in pollution. 

“The use of dry foods is one of the reasons behind various digestive problems encountered by Yarsa collectors,” said Karma Tamang, chief of ward-2 of Mugum Karmarong Rural Municipality. He further informed that mostly Khas locals have returned back due to various problems. 

“Locals of Mugu carry food which is enough for them for the whole month. So, they don't have to face many problems,” he said.

Though a lot of Yarsa collectors have fallen ill due to mismanagement, nothing has been done by the authorities to solve their problems. Every year, millions of rupees are collected from Yarsa collectors as entry charge. But, to the utter disappointment of the collectors, that money has not yet been utilized for their welfare. There are no toilets and garbage is everywhere in the hills. Yarsa collectors are obliged to drink polluted water which has given rise to various health problems. 

“I suffered from diarrhea as there was no clean water to drink so I had to return back,” said Man Bahadur Aidi, officer of the District Forest Office.

Despite health problems, there is equal risk of security for the Yarsa collectors. Collectors outside of Mugu are charged high rates in comparison to the locals.  

Caption: Garbage thrown by Yarsa collectors in Mugum Karmarong Rural Municipality of Mugu district.

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