Kathmandu Metropolitan City has said they will initiate a drive to remove illegal hoarding boards in the valley from next month. The move is a part of the ‘beautification of the valley’ ahead of Visit Nepal 2020, wherein Kathmandu is expected to welcome millions of tourists in the upcoming year.
Illegal hoarding boards/billboards have been a constant problem for KMC. Considered to be a safety hazard and a visual pollutant, in 2013 the city introduced Advertising Board Promotional Material Regulation Policy. In it they said that “it is illegal to put up commercial hoarding boards and advertisement materials on additional frames on rooftops/verandas of private and public houses. The policy also barred placement of such materials in public places and on utility poles and roadsides”. Despite the policy, the boards keep mushrooming – lack of implementation of the law being a key factor.
However, hoarding boards keep ‘re-appearing’ due to a loophole in the police. The policy has a provision wherein “companies are allowed to place hoarding boards above 200 sq feet after conducting a safety audit from technicians certified by the Nepal Engineering Council.”
The misuse of the policy seems to have intensified over the months – hoarding boards are popping up on every available rooftop/wall/ vacant space in the city, at times, openly brandishing ‘To Let’ signs with their company numbers. According to KMC, they have already notified advertising companies to remove ‘illegal hoarding boards/billboards’.
The removal campaign will target areas which are most frequented by tourists – to give an impression of unadulterated beauty to tourists.