Solid Waste in Kathmandu Valley

This September 19th we participated with Clean Up Nepal in their Annual Nationwide Clean Up Campaign. The Campaign also marks the worldwide clean up weekend. About 35 million peoples join in with this clean up. Clean up campaigns prove to very effective in creating a certain mindset to the peoples about neighborhood cleanliness. Especially when we youths set up to clean the neighborhood, most of the people think that as they are cleaning this up, we should maintain it this way. We often see heaps of waste in the roadside, and think that one day clean up is not going to work. In most of the cases the heap that we see are actually collection sites, where the wastes from local places are dumped, and the waste collection vehicle comes and haul it from. We don’t really think about where our wastes are going. So, what really happens to the waste generated from your homes?

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First of all, the wastes generated are collected from all the households. These are then dumped into certain collections places, which is usually the roadside in the case of Nepal. The waste collecting vehicles then take the waste from here and take it to our transfer station, that is, in Teku. Usually, separating the organic and inorganic waste, incineration processes are done here, but the Teku one does not operate all this. After reaching Teku, the wastes are then taken to our landfill site, at Sisdole. The engineers actually built this as a sanitary landfill, complete with leachate pipe and gas vent. But it is now beyond the waste carrying capacity.

The problems with waste occur when the wastes do not get collected on time. The collection point being at roadside also adds to the problem. The other problem that we saw today, was that, the tree plantation across the roadside were also filled with waste, and they were quite difficult to clean up.

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In our case, more than 70% of the waste generated is organic. (KMC) But they are not managed well. According to estimation, only about 16% of the entire population manages these wastes at home through composting. If composting is done as a rule, not only does it reduce the bulk of the waste going to the landfill site, but also encourages fertile soil. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City officials have also tried promoting composting through the “fohor to mohor” program, that is income generation through waste. They have tried to encourage rooftop farming and green entrepreneurship through this program.

The good news for us campaigners this time was, that the wastes in our cleaning site this time, was comparatively cleaner than last year!

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