In the Underbelly of Kathmandu
Kathmandu, the cultural and political center of Nepal and home to almost one and a half million people, is quickly becoming the central slum of Nepal. Recent ravelers to the area find their attention captured less by the majestic Himalayan Mountain Ranges, and more by the rapid deterioration of the valley at its foot. Once pristine rivers are now permeated with the stench of raw sewage; once clear mountain air is now filled with pollution that clogs sinuses and makes throats raw. New slum areas are spreading rapidly over the entire valley.
With little or no access to housing, sanitation, and clean water, many of the people displaced from their hillside villages, have been congregating along the riverbanks. The two main rivers, the Bagmati and Bishnumati, which pass through the center of Kathmandu, are filled with sewage and garbage, dumped by locals and municipalities. It is ironic that in Kathmandu, with the Himalayan Mountains on the horizon and rivers running through they city, that there is an insufficient water supply. Communities remain dry for numerous hours, if not days. Even in areas with water, the quality is so poor that it must be boiled or filtered before drinking it. One of the main reasons for the poor water quality is the lack of waste disposal, sanitation facilities, and water treatment plants.
In the Underbelly of Kathmandu, I take a glimpse of the simmering crisis that is occurring throughout the Kathmandu Valley and the endurance of the people that live there. Many of the people in my images have come to Kathmandu in search of jobs and a better future for their family and have unfortunately found a harder life than the one they left.
By Larry Louie