Kathmandu Metropolitan City has issued the 'KMC Environment and Natural Resources Protection Act-2021', which prohibits any person or organisation from causing pollution contrary to the existing standards in a manner to cause significant adverse impact on public life, human health, and environment.

"No vehicle, industrial enterprise, hotel or restaurant shall emit sound, heat, radioactive radiation, wave or waste or wastewater in excess of limits prescribed in the standards set by the Government of Nepal. In such case, KMC shall initiate legal action against polluters," says the act published in the Local Gazette on Friday.

Any person or organisation found guilty of committing an offence prohibited by this act may be liable to a fine ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. KMC will prescribe any laboratory established by the federal or provincial government to test samples of waste or pollution.

Likewise, it may appoint an environmental inspector to inspect and monitor public places, hospitals, industrial enterprises, hotels or restaurants, and recommend to the local level concerned for action against polluters. "However, the responsibility of managing or disposing harmful, hazardous, chemical and industrial waste shall lie with the concerned person or organisation producing such refuse," the act reads.

As per the act, KMC will be responsible for collection and disposal of waste. It prohibits any domestic or foreign organisation from carrying out waste management without obtaining permission of the local government.

It may award a contract for waste management to the private and community sector through open competition.

The law also authorises KMC to levy fees on persons and organisations for waste management.

Executive body of the local level concerned shall have the power to order persons or organisations to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste at the source before their collection and safe disposal.

"KMC shall protect the environment of its area while requiring each citizen to contribute to building an environment-friendly society," it says. As per the act, KMC, in coordination with the federation and the province concerned, may designate any specific area as open or green space for environment protection.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.