Managing waste: Act toothless sans commitment
KATHMANDU, SEP 08 -
In the absence of people’s representatives at the local level, the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act-2011 is unlikely to yield significant results in municipalities.
Without strong political commitment, the new plan will fail to be effectively implemented at a time when a majority of municipalities are failing to provide solid waste management services in the lack of adequate financial and technical resources, says Santosh Shrestha, who is working in solid waste management in Morang and Sunsari districts for a project jointly implemented by Nepal and the government of Finland.
Out of the 58 municipalities, only two—Pokhara and Kathmandu—have well-designed sanitary landfill sites and only two or three municipalities are working on controlled dumping sites to dispose of the garbage produced in the area. The remaining municipalities, in an utter lack of proper dumping sites and effective strategies, practise open dumping, either on river banks or on other open spaces, polluting the environment.
“Though the municipalities’ annual budget indicates an increase in solid waste management costs every year, there is no significant improvement in its handling,” said Shrestha. Even though some positive interventions have been made in waste management of late, they are limited to pilot areas and fail to cover the whole city or town.
The SWM Act that came into effect last July focuses on empowering local bodies, encouraging the public to segregate household waste and fine and punishment for the offenders.
The Act also stipulates promotion of waste as a resource, recycling and reducing the amount of waste , creating opportunities for investments from private institutions, and enhancing the capacity of local institutions to deal with waste management.
Sumitra Amatya, executive director of the Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre under the Ministry of Local Development, agrees that the municipalities are not doing well in managing the solid waste in their respective areas. In the lack of landfill sites, proper drainage system, efficient waste collection mechanism and public awareness, the municipal waste is left unmanaged, she said.
“Municipalities alone cannot improve the situation since they lack financial and technical resources. There is a need to encourage the private sector to manage the waste as a resource and keep the environment clean,” she said.
As a part of the Act implementation, the government is working to formulate solid waste strategic plans for 15 municipalities. “There is a need to establish waste processing and landfill sites in all the municipalities to effectively manage the solid waste . The government should phase out obsolete technologies and introduce newer ones,” she said.
Posted on: 2012-09-08 08:23