Kathmandu: New bill proposes strict action against water polluters

Kathmandu’s government has proposed a provision that strictly prohibits the direct discharge of faecal sludge and wastewater into water bodies.

According to Section 38 of the Water Supply and Sanitation Bill registered by the government at the Federal Parliament Secretariat, no one shall dump the drainage into rivers, streams, ponds, reservoirs or public places directly against the prescribed standard. The bill also prohibits a person or an organisation from directing the wastewater and faecal sludge to sewerage system.

“An offender shall be liable to imprisonment for a term ranging from three months to one year, or a fine of up to Rs 500,000 (SGD 9924.25), or both,” it says. As per the bill, the government may establish and operate a laboratory to measure and test the quality standards of waste water. The bill empowers the Ministry of Water Supply to designate an employee as an inspector for implementation, monitoring and oversight of the prescribed quality standards. He/she may collect samples of waste water and send them to the lab for test before initiating legal action.

The Government of Nepal shall be the plaintiff in the cases filed under this bill.

The concerned district shall be the adjudicating authority in these cases. According to the Basic Standards on Settlement Development, Urban Planning and Building Construction 2015, a house or a building constructed in municipal areas must build at least one attached septic tank as part of urban sanitation for septage management at source to ensure that it is not discharged into water bodies.

The untreated sewage, waste water and toxic waste produced by houses, industries, hospitals and offices in Kathmandu valley flow directly into the rivers and streams, polluting the environment. Uncontrolled disposal of untreated waste water (domestic, industrial, solid waste and agricultural runoff) in the rivers has far surpassed the assimilative capacity of the rivers in the valley, according to various studies. They have reported that water of river systems in the valley is of very poor quality and unsuitable for any fresh water fauna and flora for most of the dry season.