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Waste management challenges in Nepal

Rapid population growth, unplanned urbanisation and poor waste management strategies have increased poor waste management in urban areas of Nepal. Even though waste management is major problem for each municipalities, effective planning to minimize the problem still seems challenging. 

The Government of Nepal has introduced very good policies and investing resources for the management of wastes in Nepal, still the problem of solid waste has remained unsolved due to the lack of monitoring and lack of willingness of waste management by people at both official and public level. Policies for SWM are formulated by Ministry of Environment and Population with consultation from different government authorities and private agencies. Different local body have responsibility in management of waste. 

The mentioned policy is rarely implemented. Most of the municipalities are not promoting waste reduction, reuse and recycling among local communities rather they are focused only on waste collection and dumping without segregation process. 

The principle of 3R (waste reduction, reuse and recycle) are rarely given preference by municipalities, organisations, groups or individuals for effective and sustainable waste management. Policies and municipalities has not yet recognised the importance of privatization in waste management like NGOs/CBOs and private formal and informal sector which can be involved during the planning, implementation and monitoring for effective waste management. With proper baseline data, strategies evaluation of the waste management practices and encouragement by the government, Nepal can manage its wastes in an effective and sustainable way.

There is very least awareness and programs among youth and community about waste management, waste to value/recycle/reuse, environmental and health impact due to improper waste management. Addressing it would help in maintaining environment and will help empower, create job opportunities. 

A proper solid waste management is challenging in Nepal which is more than just cleaning the streets or collecting waste and dumping of the collected waste, as practiced by most municipalities. It requires efficient combination of various components of solid waste management in an integrated manner from segregation, reduction at household level to dumping, resource recovery/ reuse,/recycle at local, regional or national level. Adopting  integrated solid waste management is therefore is best way in optimizing the waste management system as a whole. 

-Sagarika Bhatta

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