Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Potential Benefits of Introducing Integrated Solid Waste Management Approach in Developing Countries: A Case Study in Kathmandu City

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Potential Benefits of Introducing Integrated Solid Waste Management Approach in Developing Countries: A Case Study in Kathmandu City

Article excerpt


Rapid economic and population growth experienced in last decade has brought significant increase in amount of urban waste generation in many developing countries like Nepal. Increasing waste generation created many problems including littering and dumping in and around outskirts of urban areas. Main problems associated with waste management in most developing countries are 1) low waste collection rates, 2) low recycling levels (recycling limited to informal recyclers), 3) littering, and 4) inappropriate final disposal. In addition to urban environmental pollution, inappropriate disposal causes generation of Greenhouse gasses such as methane gas and leachates from landfill sites. It is emphasized that most recycling is done by informal sector, restricted to materials having high market value like metals, paper and plastics. Here, we identify the potential environmental and socio-economic benefits of introducing organic waste recovery coupled with expansion of recycling of inorganic waste through cooperation with informal sector and establishment of a well-designed and managed sanitary landfill. Kathmandu city was used as a model case and Life Cycle Assessment tool was applied for evaluating potential environmental impacts. Four different scenarios were proposed based on feasible options that focus on organic recovery and informal recycling at transfer station prior to movement to landfill site. Scenarios were evaluated in terms of Global Warming Potential, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, final disposal waste, and recycling levels and energy recovery. We suggest that introduction of bio-gasification of commercial waste and composting of household waste coupled with enhanced recycling and sanitary landfill might provide highest environmental and socio-economic benefits.

Keywords: Kathmandu city, life cycle assessment, waste management, organic waste, sanitary landfill

1. Introduction

1.1 Urban Waste Management Challenges for Cities in Developing Countries: The Case of Kathmandu City

Waste management is one of the biggest challenges in developing countries due to increasing population, rapid urbanization (i.e. changing lifestyle patterns) and industrialization (Guerrero, Mass & Hogland, 2013, Yabar, Hara, Uwasu, Yamaguchi, & Zhang, 2009). Developing Asian countries like China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia have serious environmental contamination due to large amounts of municipal waste being dumped into open dumping sites on a daily basis without adequate management (Eguchi et al., 2013). Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal (Fig. 1) is also experiencing rapid population growth, causing a fast increase in waste generation that cannot be properly addressed by the local government. Primarily, Kathmandu is facing a significant problem in solid waste management including collection, transfer and final disposal of waste coupled with a lack of public awareness of the solid waste system, haphazard urbanization, introduction of environmental hazardous materials in the waste stream and changing consumer consumptions patterns (Alam, Chowdhury, Hasan, Karanjit, & Shrestha, 2008). Thus, Kathmandu Metropolitan city (KMC) requires renewed attention for effective management of its waste. Although this problem is serious there are only few studies on For example, Joshi (2013) proposed a need for sanitary landfill site and biological treatment of organic waste whereas Sapkota (2013) suggested that rather than planning for such a facility, it is important that research provides holistic solution to the problem. Before searching for holistic solutions, the iimnediate answer that can be addressed is on the treatment of organic waste (developing countries have higher levels of this waste). The separation of organic waste at the source provides additional advantages, in the sense that it can be further taken for biological treatment and thereafter utilized for the production of energy and compost. …

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