Don’t let our cities go to ‘waste’

Long-term plans and policies, public awareness and involvement are a must if one is to reduce volume of Nepal’s cities’ garbage


Waste management is one of the major problems in all the major cities of Nepal.

There are many waste management techniques used in the world like sending waste to the landfill, incineration, composting and anaerobic digestion, mechanical biological

treatment pyrolysis and gasification. As there is a lack of public education on waste management together with proper policy here, all the waste goes into landfills making it difficult to manage it.

Recycling has become an intricate part of waste management. Reusing of materials, either pre-consumer or post-consumer, that would ordinarily be considered waste could be defined as recycling. Recycling helps lessen the amount of waste that goes into landfills and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals absorbed into the earth and, in some cases, significantly reduces manufacturing costs and energy consumption.

Major metropolitan cities in Nepal frequently face problems on waste collection and sending residue into landfills due to various problems like environmental pollution and disturbance in the landscape and vegetation together with the increasing demands of people living near landfills, lack of coordination with village development committees (VDCs) and insufficient and unscientific prevailing logistic supports.

The Kathmandu Metropolitan Office and Waste Management and Resource Mobilisation Centre are struggling to manage the waste Capital’s waste, and many times the efforts are disrupted by various stakeholders who keep bringing up new demands. It appears that the agency responsible needs to have long-term strategies, plans and programmes for waste management including alternative sites and provision of public education and involvement.

We have had bitter experiences from the Gokarna to Okharpauwa landfill sites in the field of proper waste management.

Developing integrated solutions for waste management problems requires public involvement. To economically and efficiently operate a waste management programme requires significant cooperation from generators buying products in bulk, separating recyclables from non-recyclables, dropping off yard trimmings at a compost site, removing batteries from materials sent to a waste to energy facility or using designated containers for collecting materials.

To maintain any long-term programme support, citizens needs to know clearly what kinds of behaviour are desired and why. This kind of education are to be provided to the Nepali citizens with a mass awareness campaign, which could finally contribute to the reduction of problems related to waste management. No scientific separation methods have been not introduced by agencies responsible for collection of waste in major cities of Nepal. These methods are a must if we are to reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Public education stimulates interest in how waste management decisions are made, and when Citizens become interested in their community’s waste management programmes, they will frequently demand to be involved in the decision-making process. The metropolitan’s office should anticipate such interest and develop procedures for involving the public. When the public is involved in such programme design, it helps ensure that programme runs smoothly.

Waste materials that are organic in nature, such as plant materials, food scraps and paper products, are easily being recycled. These materials are put through a composting and/or digestion system to control the biological process to decompose the organic matter and kill pathogens. The resulting stabilised organic materials are than recycled as much or compost for agricultural or landscaping purposes.

Systematic separation of waste collection system needs to be introduced in metropolitan areas to separate recyclable waste in separate containers, which will finally be helpful to reduce the volume of real waste.

Our waste management system lacks long-term plan and policy, consultation with stakeholders and public education. It is suggested a long-term waste management plan and policy be designed by involving the citizens and provide public education on a massive scale.

Systematic separation of containers such as separate containers for paper, glasses and organic needs to be provided in major cities like Kathmandu and Lalitpur as soon as possible to systematise waste management on a pilot basis.