Pathari-Shanishchare under enormous pressure of waste management

Urlabari, Mar. 5:The challenge of waste management persists in Pathari Shanishchare Municipality of Morang, particularly concerning the disposal of waste from Pathari and nearby markets. With the rapid urbanisation of the area, approximately three tonnes of waste is generated daily, exacerbating the complexities of waste management.

The situation has become increasingly dire since the inclusion of erstwhile Shanishchare, Hasandaha and Pathari village development committees to form present Pathari Shanishchare Municipality, further straining waste management resources. Despite repeated pleas from local groups urging the municipality to identify an alternative waste disposal site, no action has been taken to procure land for this purpose. 

Navraj Mishra, Vice President of Community Forest, highlighted the health hazards faced by residents near the forest due to the indiscriminate dumping of garbage, compounded by nightly fires ignited to dispose of the waste. The municipality is now dumping garbage in the dumping site established by erstwhile Pathari VDC in the local forest managed by Shanti Forest Consumer group. All the garbage from the entire municipality is now being disposed of in the forest, necessitating the use of additional resources for waste collection.

Mishra expressed concern over the crisis precipitated by the accumulation of various types of waste in one location and the subsequent fires set at night. An ultimatum has been issued to find an alternative solution, with the mayor being given a three-month deadline, of which one and a half months have already elapsed.

Shashi Rai, chief administrative officer of Pathari Shanishchare Municipality, assured that the municipality is actively deliberating solutions to address the waste management issue. Discussions are underway to potentially outsource waste management to private companies, and feasibility studies are being conducted accordingly.

Surendra Rai, head of the environment and disaster management branch of the municipality, highlighted the pressing need for a permanent waste disposal site. With waste production escalating alongside urbanization, the absence of a designated dumping area exacerbates the challenge.

Meanwhile, Dhan Kumar Tamang, former president of Pathari Industry Chamber of Commerce and Industry, underscored the environmental repercussions of indiscriminate waste disposal in the forest. He lamented the lack of proper waste sorting, citing instances of various hazardous materials being disposed of haphazardly, resulting in environmental degradation and health risks for residents.

Despite the municipality’s significant revenue increase from waste management, local residents are dissatisfied with the lack of attention to sustainable waste management practices. Arjun Kafle, a local resident, criticised the municipality’s approach, emphasising the need for comprehensive waste management strategies rather than ad hoc measures such as dumping and burning waste in the forest.

Garbage is dumped 1600 metres north of the East-West Highway. Daily burning of garbage has not only affected the environment

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