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Narayan Tole: A Model Squatter in WATSAN Aspect

Posted 12 December, 02:51 pm

Kathmandu, December: “Everytime when the issue of river pollution is mentioned, people generally blame squatters,” said Sudip Pulami, secretary of Narayan tole Improvement Committee and added that their community has taken an initiative to manage waste generated from the community within their own settlement. He believes that this practice could be a good example to change public mindset about squatters.

Until a year ago, pungent smell emanating from the polluted Samakhushi River flowing nearby community was causing environmental pollution. Transmissible diseases like diarrhoea, eye shore and dysentery was quite common in the community.Goodness, the squatters soon realised that the habit of open defecation and untreated toilet waste was the major problem creator. They sought help from I/NGOs to get rid of these maladies. Soon, UN-HABITAT, WaterAid Nepal and LUMANTI appeared with technical and financial support to improve sanitation condition in the community.

Two “Septic tank with up-flow bio-filters” were built with this support. Each tank has two compartments seperated by a biofilter
that segregates solid waste in the lower chamber allowing liquid waste to pass into the upper chamber. Solid waste left behind decomposes in time, which is used as fertilizer.

“Earlier, most of the squatters used to defecate out in the open at night in the lack of their own private toilets. The handful of households had private toilets, which were also discharging untreated waste into the river,” said Gita Devi Dhakal, one of the squatters.

Fifteen toilets were constructed in last one year to faciliate every households. Sewer line was laid to connect all the toilets to the septic tanks, which discharge only clean water into the river.

The community has also been privileged with water facility by installing three new taps in the community and 5000 litre storage tank. Five exsting public taps have also been repaired to ease community people getting tap water.

These infrastructural developments have ended WATSAN peoblems in Narayan Tole. The squatters are aware on health and hygiene. They consume only safe drinking water and manage their solid waste by themselves, which has established it as a model among other squatters’ settlements.