Thursday Jun 30, 2022
Thursday Jun 30, 2022

Water pollution in Kathmandu: Is there a way out?

Building treatment plants for sewage water treatment can help save local rivers in Kathmandu


Nepalnews
2022 May 19, 13:22, Kathmandu
Photo : water pollution / piqsels

The impact of meagre sanitation facilities in Kathmandu including sewage treatment has been devastating to the local rivers and streams. Inadequate wastewater collection and treatment has made the Bagmati river the most polluted river in all of Nepal. The urban Nepali civilization is now endangering the public and environmental health of the city.

“Water pollution leads to reduction of quality of water and endangered aquatic life which impacts the economic status of fishermen and people dependent on river based enterprises,” says Kailash Sharma, Water Sanitation and Environment expert at Centre for Sustainable Development Studies Pvt. Ltd. Lalitpur. “Polluted water if used for irrigation can substantially reduce the quality of soil and decrease agricultural productivity of that land. Not only that, river based tourism is extinguished with the pollution of rivers and lakes,” he adds.


View of Bagmati river from Pahelo Pul, Sinamangal, Kathmandu. Photo via Wikimedia
View of Bagmati river from Pahelo Pul, Sinamangal, Kathmandu. Photo via Wikimedia

The prime example of water pollution is Bagmati river and the domestic sewages, solid wastes being dumped in the river for decades. However, this was not the case since the beginning. Before much of what was produced as waste was organic, households could reuse the waste as compost manure and it was managed by the household member, themselves. Led by urbanisation and an exponential growth of residents living in the city, the waste of industries and even households got dumped in the Bagmati River.

Currently the government installed treatment plant is treating the domestic sewage of the North East part of the city before mixing it in the Bagmati river. The remaining sludge gets converted into manure and is used in generating bio energy used by the treatment plant itself. The government is now planning to install more treatment plants in different parts of the capital. However, according to the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management (DWSSM), the availability of land for the construction of low cost wastewater treatment facilities demands a large land area which is difficult to obtain in most urban areas which are densely populated. Due to poor sanitation services in most of the urban areas in Nepal, raw sewage is directly discharged into natural water resources.





Photo : Bagmati river / flickr
Photo : Bagmati river / flickr

Last year this month, the wastewater treatment plant at Guhyeshwari near the Bagmati river, got expanded into a more advanced treatment plant under the project ‘Rehabilitation and Expansion of WasteWater Treatment Plant’ by the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) with the funding of USD 136 million obtained from Asian Development Bank ( ADB) for the first phase. “Developing facilities of proper waste water treatment, solid waste and faecal sludge management is how we can prevent the river water from being further polluted,” says Kailash Sharma, Water Sanitation and Environment expert at Centre for Sustainable Development Studies Pvt. Ltd. Lalitpur.

“ For the better management of water resources in Kathmandu, a penalty system for the polluters should be put in place with the spread of awareness among people,” he concludes.


READ ALSO:

water pollution Bagmati river Kathmandu sanitation
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