The “ Clean KTM ” app, which was launched by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal during the 100th week of Clean Bagmati Campaign, has recorded over 200 downloads, the app developers and Kathmandu metropolis officials said.
Users can take a picture of garbage or somebody involved in littering public spaces, select the location and push the send button. The message/complaint is registered with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City computer.
Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the KMC’s Environment Division, said they thought an app could be a right choice to tap into the tech-savvy crowd in the Capital. “It would be difficult to find anyone without a smart phone in Kathmandu. So, we thought tying technology with volunteerism could yield interesting results,” he said, adding, “We haven’t gone into massive publicity as some technical glitches are being worked on, but the word is spreading.”
The app was developed by a group of fresh engineering graduates. Arun Bhandari, Nishant Khanal and Uttam Pudasaini are twenty-two year olds who graduated from Kathmandu University’s Geomatics Engineering programme last year. They went on to found ‘Naxa’, a company which aims to create location-based apps and are experts in surveying and mapping, geographical information system, location-based service development and digital geospatial data management.
As much as they are excited to see the app being used by the public, the developers are curious and even a little apprehensive. A major challenge, according to Arun Bhandari, is continued swift response. “We have done what we can but now the success of the app depends on how the users take it and how the office acts as it gets the complaints,” said Bhandari.
Shrestha said they have received 70-80 complaints within Friday evening. He said, once the complaints registered, they alert supervisors and pick-up trucks are sent to collect the waste. “For now, the team is printing the complaints and then attending to it but if the volume increases, they will have to work accordingly,” he said.
Shrestha, meanwhile, said they’ve received a significant amount of complaints from Lalitpur, which is outside their working area. “If this app works and we make best use of it, then perhaps it could be a model for something at a larger scale,” he said.
Data from Nepal Telecom Authority shows that mobile phone penetration has reached 72 percent and Internet penetration is already at 30 percent. “Technology is taking over,” Shrestha said, adding “We are trying to make best use of it.”