Solid Waste Management (SWM) in Nepal in recent year has become a very crucial issue especially for urban development and health. According to News Reports, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is mainly responsible for collecting waste management in the Kathmandu Valley and nearly 50% of its staffs 140 vehicles are responsible for collecting and disposing waste in the city. Despite this, improper disposal and littering of streets and even river banks is a usual phenomenon and people are forced to navigate through the pile of rotting garbage as they tread along their daily routines.
According to Solid Waste Management and Resource Mobilization Centre( SWMRMC) the total amount of solid waste produced per day by five municipalities of Kathmandu, ( Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Madhyapur Thimi and Kirtipur) is 435 dry metric tons out of which 75% originate from households. The recent report by Asia Development Bank ( ADB) stated that nearly 66% of solid waste produced by household is organic and can be reused and recycled.
Reuse and recycling is especially beneficial if the same product is in a huge amount and the huge proportion of organic waste translates to monetary and social benefits. The report further mentions how organic composting could significantly reduce the Balance of Payment of Nepal ( BOP) because of the significant import of chemical fertilizers to the country.
Organic waste would not only help in producing organic fertilizers but it also has potentials for producing bio gas through anaerobic digestion. Bio gas would definitely help in providing for the energy needs of the city as a huge part of energy needs in Nepal which is nearly 90% is for domestic use. Bio gas would not only help in providing for the energy needs it would also help in reducing Green house emission since it is considered to be a form of clean energy. Morever, the Government of Nepal’s Energy Strategy Plan also has recommended to promote clean energy in the form of bio gas beside other renewable energy.
Recently, news report covered the proposed plans of the Kathmandu Metropolitan city to allow private companies collection and disposal work of solid waste from the city through open bidding process. To be noted is the fact previous initiatives by KMC through the open bidding process had failed which according to officials was because of the lack of cooperation from the stakeholders involved.
If the KMC does approve of this, it has a lot to benefit from this private public partnership. The National Policy of SWM formulated in 1996 has provision for the involvement of private sector participation in solid waste management. However, private sector participation has been very limited but it has great potentials because one of the reasons for the flaking performance of the KMC in terms of Solid waste management has been the lack of finance and expertise which could be available through private firms.
Till date large percentage of household waste is collected through door to door service, single collection point which however has not been effective and has been infrequent. Besides that riverside dumping is still very prevalent in the valley which needs to be stopped as the practice affects both Stopping human health and also destroys the ecological environment. Though the civil society groups have been working towards restoring the rivers health, the KMC needs to play a vital role for reducing this ill practice.
The Waste Management Act of 2011 has provisions for collecting tariff from the public as per the amount of waste disposed as well as a fine system for illegal dumping which has not been implemented.
Apart from waste collection and disposal, KMC’s work as involves monitoring waste disposals from hospitals, hazardous waste from industries and the sewerage system in terms of waste management. Due to the very intensive nature of the SMW it is impossible of the KMC to oversee each and every aspect of waste management in the Valley. Furthermore, waste disposal at the sanitary site have also received criticism for the unhealthy way they are disposed.
Efficient collection and handling can be done through private companies given the sense of ownership and profit involved. The Municipality through its partnership with the private companies could also generate tariff that would help in assisting other integral aspect of SWM in the country and even water waste management which is another pressing issue at the present moment. Furthermore, not all municipalities in the country have efficient management system for waste management and the ADB report on the survey of 58 municipalities found that nearly 44% of the municipalities were not even aware of the clauses of the National Policy of SWM. Thereby, private partnership with companies which are financially sound and technically adept would help in improving the SWM significantly.