Potential benefits of introducing integrated solid waste management in Kathmandu City: A case study

Event: 12th Asia Pacific Conference, Ritsumeikan Center for Asia Pacific Studies
Date: November, 2014 (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Oita, Japan)
Conference Proceeding

Rapid economic and population growth experienced in the few last decades has brought a significant increase in the amount of urban waste generation in many developing countries like Nepal. Rapid increase in waste generation has created many problems including littering and dumping in and around outskirts of urban areas.The main problems associated with waste management are 1) a lack of full collection coverage, 2) low recycling levels (recycling limited to informal recyclers), 3) littering, and 4) inappropriate final disposal in sanitary landfill. In addition to urban environmental pollution, inappropriate disposal causes the generation of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane (CH4) and leachates from landfill sites. It is emphasized that most recycling is done by the informal sector, restricted to materials having a high market value like metals, paper and plastics. We tried to identify potential environmental and socio-economic benefits of introducing organic waste recovery coupled with expansion of recycling of inorganic waste through cooperation with the informal sector and establishment of a well-managed sanitary landfill. We used Kathmandu city as the model case. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used to as a tool to evaluate potential environmental impacts. Four different scenarios were proposed based on feasible options that focus on organic recovery and informal recycling at transfer stations prior to movement to the landfill site. Scenarios were evaluated in terms of Global Warming Potential (GWP), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), final disposal waste, and recycling levels and energy recovery. Introduction of bio-gasification of commercial waste and composting of household waste coupled with enhanced recycling and sanitary landfill might provide the highest environmental and socio-economic benefits. This paper has been accepted in the Journal of Sustainable Development and will be published in December 2014.