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Solid waste management, Regional effort can deliver Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Monday, 23 January 2012
By: Bhuwan Adhikari

People do not realize that solid waste reduction and recycling helps in addressing global climate change. They are not aware that the trash they toss away leads to emissions of greenhouse gases. Each kilo of trash tossed emits approximately 200 grams of carbon dioxide in the form of methane. Reuse and recycling of materials can reduce emissions by reducing the amount of methane generating waste sent to landfill site.

All these waste were products. Products require energy to produce. By recycling, recyclable energy can be saved and emission can be minimized. It takes more energy to create a new product than it takes to produce something from a recycled good. At least 30 per cent of the household waste is recyclable. As organic waste decomposes in landfills, it produces landfill gas which consists of about 50 per cent methane, and about 50 per cent CO2. Using this gas to produce energy is the need of the time to mitigate the energy crisis.
Solid waste management is one of the inevitable environmental issues in Nepal. With rapid urbanization, solid waste management has emerged as a major challenge especially in the urban areas. The problem of solid waste is the by-product of development, and it is inevitable. In the context of Nepal, authorities responsible for the management of solid waste cite limited resources to manage the ever-growing amount of waste. However, some laws and acts and special authority to local government have provided adequate mandate to take necessary action to manage waste of their respective area. Assessing the context, it is necessary to improve the sanitary living condition for the well-being of the Nepalese people. The government of Finland has shown its deep concern in this regard as its policy envisages environmental protection as one of the priority areas. For this, as per the need identified by the government of Nepal and Finland, the regional waste management unit has been envisioned by both the governments in eastern Nepal. For proper waste management and its recycling and also to contribute to the local environment protection and to improve the sanitary living conditions, Biratnagar Sub Metropolitan City, Inaruwa Municipality, Itahari Municipality and Dharan Municipality have been taken into consideration for managing the waste. Similarly, the waste from adjoining 9 VDCs of these urban centres, and VDCs across the Morang-Sunsari industrial corridor have also been taken into consideration.
For this, the Finnish Government has pledged its support to build a landfill site at Dangraha VDC of Morang, and building capacities of local authority in order to collect, transfer, recycle and dispose the waste by establishing a regional mechanism owned by all the concerned municipalities and VDCs. Both the governments have undertaken this challenging responsibility and initiated a specialized project named Regional Waste Management Project (RWMP) for the period between 2010 and 2014. This bilateral agreement between both governments is working to manage the waste of rapidly urbanizing cities of Morang and Sunsari districts by building and operating well-equipped modern landfill sites. The operation of landfill site and waste management in the project area is projected under the principle of public-private partnership for its sustainability.
The segregated wastes at source are primary feed for functioning landfill operation and recycling. The segregated waste and systematic operation of landfill sites are the basic foundation of modern waste management. This plan can only be materialized if residents of this area are motivated to segregate the waste. Meanwhile, the residents and all the waste generators need to reduce and reuse the waste. The waste at landfill should be recycled to the maximum to save energy. This can be done only with the combined efforts from all the stakeholders. Since this is a time-taking phenomenon moving from poor management to systematic management, there needs to be mass motivation. Local authorities should assure communities with clean and safe environment and enact prevailing laws and rules for local environmental protection and conservation and should link it with economic development through integrated solid waste management.
This regional effort will encourage the reduction of waste amount and promote recycling service. The ownership of landfill site and its operational management mandate to local bodies also creates avenue for sustainable and self-reliant system by virtue of sharing the responsibility, cost and profits. Moreover, this initiative has also a long term vision of producing energy from landfill gas.
The construction of international standard landfill sites, establishment of regional mechanism for waste management and landfill site operation, public participation in recycling activities and shared control over the system by all the municipalities and VDCs are RWMP’s sustainable features. Though the landfill site has always been a contentious issue, the collective efforts ensuring its prime beneficiaries-the people-will ease the obstacle. The synergy and cooperation from all who care about environment could replicate the efforts and idea elsewhere in Nepal.

Adhikary is Communication Officer, RWMP

Source: The Himalayan Times, January 23, 2012
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