With a large number of high-rise buildings awaiting demolition, local bodies in Kathmandu Valley will soon face the challenge of relocating the debris from the structures.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has already started moving debris— bricks and other materials—from damaged structures to open spaces and is using some of it to fill potholes and road sections.
According to Dhanapati Acharya, chief at the Implementation Department of the KMC, the rubble from the quake-hit historical and cultural sites, the premises housing monuments and government buildings has been moved to Tundikhel, where temporary shelters have been provided to the earthquake-displaced.
“The main challenge is moving substantial amounts of debris generated from the damaged high-rise buildings that await demolition,” says Acharya.
Managing wreckage in various localities is another problem facing the authorities, as they have had little cooperation from the locals. KMC officials say owners are dumping off the rubble on the streets and road sections against the local authorities’ decision to manage it properly on their own.
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) is working in close coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs—the lead agency for post-disaster debris management. MoFALD has already directed the municipalities and district development committees in quake-affected districts to manage the debris by selecting appropriate sites for disposal.
Considering the massive scale of destruction wrought by the earthquakes and the challenge of managing post-disaster debris, MoFALD and the International Organisation for Migration had in 2014 prepared a post-earthquake debris management strategic plan for Kathmandu Valley. Nine of the 83 available open spaces were marked for debris management. The plan estimated that the debris in the Valley would comprise considerable amounts of bricks, sand, aggregates, steel, timber, CGI sheets and aluminium pieces, among others.
“But we cannot use the open spaces as dumping sites for debris and rubble, as a long-term solution. We need to clear these areas and find appropriate sites to properly dispose of the materials,” says Gopal Khanal, joint-secretary at the MoFALD.
The government is preparing to dump huge volumes of the materials on the premises of Himal Cement Factory, at Chobhar, and on the banks of the Bagmati river. “The land area in Chobhar should be enough to manage the debris generated from the Valley,” says Acharya of the KMC.