City starts collecting segregated wasteThe metropolis requests households in Kathmandu to segregate waste at its source.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has started collecting segregated waste from households from Sunday onwards. The City had asked all households to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste last month in a notice published on its website.
The days of waste collection have also been divided accordingly, with organic waste to be collected four days a week and nonbiodegradable waste for two days.
According to Sarita Rai, chief of the City’s environment department, only segregated waste will be collected and taken to the landfill site.
“Two separate vehicles will be deployed for two categories of waste,” Rai said. “And the waste will be dumped in two different places designated for its type.”
City planners and environmentalists have called the City’s latest move to solve the waste management problem a good initiative.
“It’s a good start,” said urban planner Suman Meher Shrestha. “Now the City must give continuity to waste segregation at the source for this initiative to be a success in the long run. The City must also bring stringent laws against littering in public places.”
City’s mayor Balendra Shah stressed the need to segregate waste at the source stating that the citizens should continue segregating waste and not look at the chore as cumbersome.
“It’s not a difficult task. If you don’t mix the degradable and nondegradable waste, that’s enough,” said Shah. “We are used to dumping household garbage without segregation to avoid extra work. We must make it a habit to segregate waste every day.”
Shah added, “We understand that for some households, it is not easy to segregate waste because of space constraints but we have to learn to work around the difficulties. The City also has numerous challenges to overcome to make this a success, but if we work together, it is possible.”
On the first day of the campaign, the City on Sunday collected only organic waste from wards 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 27 of the metropolitan city.
These are the core areas where people are reluctant to manage waste at home, according to Sunil Lamsal, an engineer and waste management consultant of the mayor's secretariat.
“On Sunday, we collected 25 percent of organic waste from the public,” Lamsal said. “This campaign has been launched as a pilot project. During this time, we will collect data and conduct research to find more efficient ways to manage waste.”
However, this is not the first time Kathmandu Metropolitan City introduced waste segregation drives. In 2019, during the tenure of Bidya Sundar Shakya, the Environment Department launched a programme to segregate solid waste in Wards 12, 18 and 21 in the first phase. They were expected to expand the drive to all the 32 wards of the City but they failed to do so.
“The City’s waste problem can be solved if only every household engages in waste segregation,” said Shrestha, the urban planner. “Hopefully the mayor will leave no stone unturned to make this campaign a success.”
Underscoring his commitment to solving the years-long garbage problem, Shah had announced waste management in Kathmandu as his topmost priority after assuming office on May 30.
“Other people are suffering because of the waste we generate and the way we dispose of it,” he had said. “It’s our duty to put an end to people’s miseries caused by our mismanagement of waste. I request everyone to segregate waste at home to contribute to a more scientific method of waste management that stands to benefit everyone.”
According to City officials, it is also conducting a door-to-door awareness programme. The City will take the drive to children at schools as they can, in turn, make their parents more aware of the importance of waste segregation, said Lamsal, the engineer and waste management consultant.
Failing to segregate waste at the source itself will lead to a minimum fine of Rs500, say City officials.
The City has already made an announcement to charge a fine based on Solid Waste Management Act, 2068 (2011). The Act states that offenders will be fined from Rs500 to Rs15,000. The City has also announced it’d charge rule violators based on the Environment and Natural Resources Prevention Act-2021, which authorises a fine between Rs30,000 and Rs50,000 on a person or organisation found guilty.
Lamsal said that the City is looking for land in three different places within Kathmandu to process organic solid waste into manure.
“Within three months, we will be able to build the conversion plant,” said Lamsal.
Every day, Kathmandu Valley generates around 1,200 tonnes of solid waste, a half of that coming from Kathmandu district alone.
“Out of 600 tonnes of solid waste generated from Kathmandu, 300 tonnes is organic that can be converted into manure,” Lamsal said. “Managing the remaining waste will then be easy.”