Dumping method blamed for urban garbage problems

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 30, 2018-

Primitive approach of ‘collect and dump’ and isolated work of government agencies have been blamed for poor management of municipal solid waste (MSW), a leading urban problem which has lingered for years.

Stakeholders have observed that municipalities or local governments cannot alone deal with the growing waste generation because of rapid urbanisation.

UN-HABITAT Regional Technical Advisor South Asia Bhushan Tuladhar said that although municipalities have the responsibility of managing waste, they have not been able to do it properly because of their focus on collection rather than management.

“All they have done so far is collecting and dumping elsewhere, especially to a place where no one will protest,” said Tuladhar.

Citing the example of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), which has struggled for years to manage its waste problems despite spending a major chunk of its annual budget on waste management topic, experts have said local levels should collaborate with local community and private sector. KMC had allocated Rs550 million in the Fiscal Year 2016-17 and Rs690 million in last fiscal year. Annually, KMC spends nearly 20 per cent of its total budget on waste management.

The KMC has deployed nearly 700 staff members only to collect waste and dispose it. Despite this, private

sector collects almost 70 per cent of waste generated in Kathmandu.

Tuladhar suggests adopting traditional techniques of composting, involving private sector and local communities as they can help in solving waste issues of municipalities.

“Once waste was sold at Rs 50 paisa per tin in Kathmandu Valley. In addition, people in Kathmandu had traditional means of managing waste at household. There were ingrained values in public: waste had a value; waste management meant waste recycling: and waste producer was responsible for its management,” said Tuladhar. He urged, integrated sustainable waste management for municipalities.

There are 293 municipalities, 11 sub-metropolises and six metropolises in the country. Municipal solid waste is likely to be a major problem for all local governments. Municipalities like Dhankuta, Waling, and Ghorahi among others have done exemplary work in waste management.

Municipalities Association of Nepal (MuAN) Executive Director Kalanidhi Devkota said, “We have to be clear on whether we want to clean our cities or manage the waste. If we want to only make cities clean then collecting waste and throwing them away is enough, but waste management requires more effort.”

He stressed inter-municipal co-operation for sustainable waste management.

“One municipality alone cannot manage its waste. By this approach, we will have 293 land filling sites. This is not the solution,” said Devkota. Participants at a discussion on ‘Managing Urban Solid Waste’ organised to mark World Habitat Day, said the municipalities should encourage private sector to take the lead in waste management business.

NEPSE Mac Nabajyoti Environment Chairman Tikaram Dahal said, “By dumping our waste at landfill sites, we are throwing away valuable resources. We can earn from recycling them.”

Currently, over 60 companies are working in waste collection in Kathmandu Valley. According to Dahal, nearly 2,500 workers are directly involved in waste management of the Valley.

“The government should facilitate private sector by providing land for setting up waste management centre and setting up waste transfer centre,” he said.

Published: 30-09-2018 07:37

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