SC issues order to manage solid waste

  • SC issues order to manage solid waste

Kathmandu, October 1

The Supreme Court has issued an interim order to the government, its bodies and the three local levels of Kathmandu valley to take measures to manage solid waste and ensure the fundamental right of citizens to live in a clean and healthy environment as envisioned in the constitution.

A joint bench of Justice Kedar Prasad Chalise and Justice Tej Bahadur KC issued the order which has asked the government bodies to collect solid waste on a daily basis and segregate the waste before dumping or sending for reusing or recycling.

Advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha representing Effort Lab, a non-government organisation, had filed a case against government bodies on September 17 stating that the government bodies had failed to manage solid waste.

The SC’s order states that inability to manage daily waste could pollute the environment and adversely affect people’s lives. It also ordered the government to segregate the collected waste into biodegradable and non-degradable waste, and to launch programmes to encourage people to segregate such waste in their houses.

The SC has also stated in its order that obstruction of vehicles carrying waste to the landfill site would be a punishable crime.

Waste management in Kathmandu a major problem.

The landfill site at Sisdole, Nuwakot, which has been used for over 12 years to dump solid waste from Kathmandu valley, is unable to hold any more waste.

The government has bought land at Banchare Danda, some 2.8 kilometre north of Sisdole to construct a permanent landfill site. However, the site has yet to come into operation.

Urban environmentalist Ashok Maharjan said the government was not serious about addressing environmental issues, which was very unfortunate. He said if the government could bring programmes to collect bio-degradabal waste and non-degradable waste separately and encourage people to segregate such waste at their houses, it would decrease the amount of solid waste to be dumped in the landfill sites significantly.

Deputy director Safala Shrestha at Department of Environment has not yet brought out any plan and polices to segregate such waste.

“We are making a work plan for solid waste segregation. We hope to implement the plan from next year, if the ministry allocates budget,” he added.

The Solid Waste Management Act 2011 states that the local government is a responsible body to segregate waste and transport it to a particular destination such as transfer station, recycling station, compost plant, biogas plant or landfill site.

The three local bodies of the valley, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City and Bhaktapur Municipality, however, have not yet identified any landfill site. They have not even prepared a schedule for collecting waste.

Local Government Operation Act 2017 has provisioned that local bodies should manage solid waste on their own. However, the Environment Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City states that the federal government should support them in waste management.

Head of the Environment Department of KMC Hari Kunwar said they needed the federal government’s support to operate Banchare Danda landfill site and operate various waste segregation units inside Kathmandu.

On an average, around 1,000 metric tonnes of waste collected from Kathmandu valley is dumped into the landfill site at Sisdole on a daily basis. According to DoE, around 60 per cent of such waste is recyclable while 40 per cent can be reused. Only 10 to 11 per cent solid waste would actually be dumped in the landfill site if the waste was properly segregated.

Waste management in Kathmandu is becoming very much challenging due to ever growing population in the valley in the last few decades. Waste piling up on the road sides and public spaces are common sights here, mainly due to lack of proper landfill sites to manage the waste.