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In Nepal's Capital, Waste Puts off Visitors and Locals


A man walks on waste at a dumping site as locals from a village near the site protest against garbage being dumped in their area by blocking garbage trucks from reaching the dumping site at the outside of Kathmandu, Nepal on June 8, 2022. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)
In Nepal's Capital, Waste Puts off Visitors and Locals
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Large amounts of waste, or garbage, are filling streets in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, after protesters blocked a road leading to a landfill outside the city.

Protesters in the village where the garbage is dumped accuse the government of not doing enough to protect them from the waste.

One British visitor, or tourist, Richard McSorley, recently spoke to Reuters news agency about the problem. He remembers how much cleaner Kathmandu was when he first visited many years ago. “If I was a new tourist I would be disgusted,” McSorley said, while pointing to a load of garbage next to a city street.

The waste problem comes as government officials seek to draw in more tourists after the country’s unsteady economy was hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For weeks, treatment of waste has been a continuous problem in the hill-ringed city. The problems started after people in the village of Bancharedanda resisted having the garbage dumped at a nearby landfill.

Biswas Dhungana was one of the protesters. He said the villagers were refusing to permit trucks loaded with garbage to enter. They say government officials have done little to provide basic equipment and effective structures to deal with the garbage.

People walk near garbage dumped along the street in Bashantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, as locals from a village near the dumping site protest against garbage being dumped in their area by blocking garbage trucks from reaching the dumping site, in Kathmandu, Nepal on June 7, 2022. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)
People walk near garbage dumped along the street in Bashantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, as locals from a village near the dumping site protest against garbage being dumped in their area by blocking garbage trucks from reaching the dumping site, in Kathmandu, Nepal on June 7, 2022. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

Dhungana told Reuters, “We have been forced to live like pigs in yucky conditions for several years as the government has not done anything to keep the village clean.”

Last week, hundreds of villagers build a barrier of rocks on the road leading to Bancharedanda. It forced about 200 trucks filled with Kathmandu’s garbage to return without dumping their load.

Three witnesses said protestors also threw stones from surrounding hills. Three police officers were injured. Police then fired tear gas to break up the protests.

Sunil Lamsal is an official overseeing how Kathmandu’s garbage is processed. He told Reuters he was working to deal with the concerns of locals in Bancharedanda as soon as possible.

Lamsal said, “We are coordinating with the protesters and will invite them for talks to resolve the problem.”

But for now, garbage continues to grow on the streets of Kathmandu. This has led to increased anger for people living in the capital, like Laloo Magar.

“I am fed up with the authorities who can't even keep the city clean,” Magar said. Magar added that the current waste situation in Kathmandu was “a disgrace.

I’m Gregory Stachel.

Gopal Sharma reported this story for Reuters. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.

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Words in This Story

landfill – n. an area where waste is buried under the ground

dump – v. to get rid of (waste or garbage) especially in a secret and illegal way

disgusted – adj. very annoyed or angry about something

yucky – adj. unpleasant and disgusting

coordinate – v. to make arrangements so that two or more people or groups of people can work together properly and wel

authorities – n. people who have power to make decisions and enforce rules and laws

disgrace – n. something that you are or should be ashamed of

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