Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Garbage Time in Trash City

In the last two weeks, garbage hasn't been collected in Kathmandu because of protests in the town where the city's main landfill, which is just about full, is located. As a result large piles of putrid trash- plastic bags, animal waste, rotting vegetable matter, newspapers- have begun accumulating in neighborhoods around the city. What can't be burned in the street stays in he street. 5,000 tons of it so far, according to one report, though that seems like an extreme lowball. The above was taken in the neighborhood of Jamal.

As for the protests. Like I've described here before, it's a time honored Nepali tradition to close down streets or whole cities in order to meet a political objective. In this case, the protests were over a lack of city money being given to the town that hosts the landfill. Seems like a reasonable complaint, and it looks like an agreement has been struck to reopen the road to the landfill.

But as soon as that deal was struck, a protest popped up at another of the city's landfills, this one having nothing to do with trash. Protesters at landfill #2 agitating against the thuggish behavior of the maoist-affiliated Youth Communist League, a member of which allegedly chopped the legs off a local youth. The protesters are demanding that whoever did it be arrested and tried, and until then: no garbage dropoffs.


Julie said...

I'm wanting you guys to come home now. Doesn't sound so great over there.

Ian said...

If only they had an ocean - or at least a really big lake - to throw everything into. Problem solved.