KATHMANDU, Jan 20: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), the only metropolis of the country, launched ´Green City´ campaign last week. The campaign promises that the country´s capital will have a cleaner environment and the future generation will be able to enjoy greenery within the city itself.
One of the components of the campaign is that those who wish to build new homes must plant at least two trees. This, officials say, would lead to significant increase in the number of trees in the capital--over 10,000--within a year as KMC approves more than 5,000 new houses each year. The KMC projects that the metropolis will have over 100,000 new trees in 10 years.
The KMC Chief Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said the campaign would succeed in its goal as the office will enforce the two trees provision strictly. "The KMC will not approve the design for a new house until it shows space for two trees," Adhikari said.
Rabin Man Shrestha, an official in the KMC´s Environment Department, said "The campaign is not against people´s will as most people love greenery and would not disagree with the Green City campaign.”
"Most of the initiatives of metropolis are ambitious in their aims but prove to be a failure when one looks at their implementation record," said an employee at the metropolis. “Under the scenario, no one will believe that this campaign will succeed."
"At a time when denizens are deprived of basic amenities like, electricity, water, proper sanitation, security in the metropolis, how can one believe that this one will be implemented," Suresh Dongol, a resident of Kalimati asked.
Earlier, the KMC had launched ´Clean Kathmandu, Our Kathmandu´ campaign with much hype. But news of corruption and embezzlement came to light even before the campaign began.
The metropolis announced that it would deploy 10,000 volunteers per day for the campaign, but the number did not exceed more than a quarter of the target. Only 1,300 employees of metropolis, few government staffers and some representatives from non-governmental organizations took part. KMC chief Adhikari claims that the campaign had at least succeeded in creating awareness among the people.
Waste management is one of the main headaches of the metropolis.
Various measures were taken to reduce garbage and keep the city clean, but non were successful. Despite the KMC´s effort to distribute trash bins to the residents of the metropolis, the streets are still littered with wastes. The office had launched garbage segregation campaign as well but it too could not be implemented. Very few people separate degradable and non degradable garbage despite repeated requests from the KMC.
Hundreds of thousands of rupees were spent in the campaign for cleaning the rivers in the city, but their condition continues to deteriorate. The Bagmati and Bishnumati cleaning campaigns ended in failure. The campaigns were launched without giving a proper thought to managing the sewage system of the city. "Campaigns launched without prudence are bound to end in failure," said Dangol.
The office in the past had planted trees on the banks of various rivers in Kathmandu, but the plants died due to lack of proper care. Despite repeated failures, the KMC has been introducing campaigns after campaigns.
KMC is the second worst urban government in the country
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is the second worst performing urban government in the country after Malangawa Municipality, a study conducted by Local Body Financial Commission (LBFC), under the Ministry of Local Development, shows. The study conducted on 2011 and 2010 had placed KMC in 57th position among 58 cities, towns and district development committees covered.
Due to its poor performance, KMC continues to lose millions in development grants from foreign governments and donor agencies. The KMC failed to meet Minimum Condition and Performance Requirements (MCPR) set by LBFC. Out of 13 minimum yardsticks, KMC met only 10. The metropolis received only 40 marks out of 100, meaning it fared poorly on the service delivery front.
Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, Chief, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC)
How will you describe the Green City campaign?
The campaign Green City does not mean just turning the city green. It is one of the components of a wider goal we have set for this city. Safety, accessibility, healthy environment are other ingredients for which we are working. Most of us are aware of the degrading environment of the capital. To compensate the degrading environment ´We have introduced ´Green City ´campaign.
Most campaigns launched by the KMC end in failure. How can you ensure that this one would not meet the similar fate?
We have launched this campaign with good reasons. We have made the two tree provision mandatory and will enforce it strictly. We are not asking people to plant big trees, medium sized trees will do. Each year blueprints of over 5,000 new houses get approval from KMC, that means in a year 10,000 trees will be planted. In ten years, we will have 100,000 trees in the capital.
Does this rule apply to those who have already built houses with 100 percent coverage of land? What about those who have smaller plots?
The rule is little bit flexible to the people who have already built houses and those having small space and wishing to build with 100 percent coverage. Nowadays the concept of roof top garden is very popular in cities. We will encourage roof top garden and roof top farming. People already prefer to place flowerpots on the roof tops. We will ask people to place five big flowerpots with medium sized plants on the roof. I hope this idea will be taken positively.
Does the KMC have other plans?
Several campaigns have already been launched. We are planning to ban plastic bags completely in metropolis from new Nepali calendar. We have succeeded in banning poly bags of less than 20 microns. We will urge companies to produce either degradable or recyclable poly bags. Legally, we do not have any problems to prohibit them. We will encourage the people to use paper bags. We have been planning to distribute bio degradable bags for segregation of garbage.
We have also asked petrol pumps to build public toilets by end of the ongoing fiscal year.