Kathmandu, Dec. 30: This Sunday will not only bring with it a new week but a new year, and possibly, a new set of new year resolutions. On the first day of the Gregorian year of 2023, many of us may promise to work out more, eat healthy, save money and pay more attention to our families. But this time, let us commit ourselves to NOT doing a few things for the convenience of our community members and the betterment of our localities.
Thursday was seventh day since Pratik Khadgi fractured his arm. The 15-year-old was walking home from school on December 23 when he tripped on a discarded orange peel at Patko, Lalitpur and broke his right hand.
“This is a needless injury,” Khadgi’s mother Maiya said pointing at his cast when The Rising Nepal caught up with the family on Wednesday. “Had that peel been disposed properly, my son would not have been injured.”
Littering is a common problem in Kathmandu Valley and almost no road, street or alley is free from plastic, paper or pieces of various edibles. Technically, it is illegal under the Solid Waste Management Act 2011 but it continues anyway, said sanitation worker Darpan Ghimire.
“People are conscious about big piles of garbage but not about tiny wrappers and fruit skins,” Ghimire, who is a waste collector for a private sanitation company, said. “It does not cross their mind that their litter pollutes the environment or that someone may slip and fall on it.”
Don’t drop the gob
Trisha Jha was showing her American brother-in-law around Hanumandhoka Durbar Square on Monday when a guy walking in front of them opened his mouth and hocked out a blood-red, viscous, phlegm-filled drop of spit.
“It was so disgusting, especially to my foreigner Bhinaju,” she recalled. “He almost threw up.”Going by the crimson spit, it can be assumed that the man was chewing Paan (Betel Quid) or Paan Masala (a mixture of areca nut with slaked lime, catechu and other flavouring agents), both of which cause the chewer to salivate and expectorate.
The latter is particularly popular among the young and old alike. In the last fiscal year 2021/22, Nepal imported Rs. 261,291,000 worth of the product, meaning the country spent over a quarter of a billion rupees to purchase an item that is essentially spit – spit that Jha cannot stand.
“It stains the floor, wall or wherever else it lands a dirty red and risks spreading diseases,” she said. “I cannot believe we have not learnt not to spit carelessly even after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Don’t soil toilets
Sandhya Karki, who runs a restaurant in Jagati, Bhaktapur, has a sign hanging on the door of her establishment’s restroom: “Let others not see what you excrete. Keep the toilet clean.”A slightly crass notice, Karki admitted, but one she was compelled to put up. “People have no regard for hygiene,” she complained. “It was sickening and I was having to go in every 20 minutes to clean the mess.”
A dirty toilet especially causes problems for ladies, Karki said. “As a woman myself, I understand the pain and want my female customers to be able to use the loo comfortably.”Also, she called on all to think beyond defaecation when it came to lavatories as many used the space to brush teeth, take bath and wash clothes too. “So, please maintain ‘toilet etiquette’ and show courtesy to those who may have to ‘go’ after you.”