For more than a decade, Kathmandu Valley residents were dumping their waste in the Sisdole landfill site which was initially proposed as a short-term project to manage the waste of Kathmandu Valley in 2002. However, problems began to emerge after the capacity of the landfill site exceeded a few years ago.
As the waste piled, communities began to suffer and eventually started protesting against garbage dumping at Sisdole.
The locals would block the road in protest and vandalize the trucks carrying the waste, with the situation escalating to a point where security personnel would have to escort garbage trucks heading to the landfill site.
The garbage collected from households from different parts of Kathmandu Valley brought to the Teku Transfer Station would not be disposed for several days, sometimes weeks, owing to several obstructions.
Due to this, people walking by the Teku bridge near Balkhu Fruit Market could not walk without covering their faces due to the abhorrent stench as a result of piled-up garbage in the Teku waste transfer station.
At times when the metropolis stopped collecting waste from households, from 2018 to mid-2022, the garbage used to be piled up on roads, making a sore sight, along with inviting potential health risks.
After the Sisdole landfill site in Nuwakot was completely filled, the Banchare Danda landfill site was proposed and construction work began in 2019 for the landfill site on the border of Dhading and Nuwakot.
Even after the completion of construction in late 2021, solid waste disposal at Banchare Danda, three kilometers further from the previous Sisdole landfill site, was burdensome for KMC until last year due to obstruction from locals on the way to Nuwakot demanding better amenities.
After the appointment of Balendra Shah (Balen) as Mayor of KMC, the situation related to the issue escalated, which many speculated, was a move from mainstream political parties to discredit Mayor Shah.
To resolve the matter with locals, discussions were held between the Chief District Officers of Kathmandu, Dhading and Nuwakot and local representatives of Dhunibesi municipality (Dhading), Kakani rural municipality (Nuwakot), where they came into agreement to allow garbage disposal at Banchare Danda after laying out certain conditions.
Chief District Officer of Kathmandu, Gobinda Rijal, informed that according to the agreement, trucks ferrying garbage should not leak leachate en route to the landfill site and chemicals to prevent foul smell should be sprayed regularly where the garbage is piled.
Similarly, among other demands of Sisdole and Banchare Danda residents was the expedited construction of the Pasang Lhamu Highway which led to the landfill site.
The contract was awarded to Shailung Construction whose owners are the landlord of PM Dahal’s former residence. The construction company is famous for delaying several national projects, and also for escaping any punishment for their delay.
As the poor condition of roads was one of the major reasons for the protest from locals, Mayor Shah called out PM Dahal on social media. Coincidence or not, the construction process was swiftly carried out since.
The agreement was respected by all the parties and the situation has been much better since past few months with no major hindrance, informed Uttam Pathak, in-charge of the Banchare Danda Dumping Site.
“Currently, over 100 trucks reach Banchare Danda from the Kathmandu Valley on a daily basis, carrying a total waste of around 800 metric tonnes,” said Pathak.
The Bancharedanda landfill site boasts an area of around 90 ropani land used for waste disposal and 22 employees to manage the site.
“There are two cells for dumping waste, we are currently using Cell-1 to dump the garbage and construction of Cell-2 is completed so we will also be using Cell-2 from now on,”
“We spray chemicals on a daily basis to remove the stench coming out from the garbage and the dumping site is also at a good distance from the settlement which minimizes the health risk associated with the site,” Pathak informed.
According to Pathak, the segregation of waste is not implemented on the Banchare Danda dumping site yet, however, talks for starting segregation are currently undergoing. For the time being, the solid garbage brought to Bancharedanda is spread out in the huge garbage cell, namely Cell-1, and buried with soil.
With the allocation of Rs. 425 million from the Ministry of Urban Development for the construction of roads, as much as 90% of the roads leading to the dumping site have been either black-topped or cemented.
For now, people residing near the Banchare Danda have allowed operation of the dumping site, however, leaving the environment stench-free, the waters separate from garbage leachate, the environment hazard-free and the roads in great condition should be maintained for both sides to work collaboratively to manage the waste of Kathmanduites.