Sustainable waste management

Strengthening local capacities in Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) in small and medium municipalities of Nepal

Country:  Nepal
Date:  February 2007 - December 2008
Project manager:  Jun Hada

This project’s objective was to improve the health and environmental conditions of poor communities in four municipalities of Nepal - Bharatpur, Birendranagar, Nepalgunj and Vyas, which contain 4,000 households.  This was achieved through the adoption of a community-based, sustainable waste management system.  Improvements were made both in primary collection and recycling at community level.

Respective municipal offices, udle/gtz, Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) and WASTE Netherlands were the implementing partners of the project. The project was supported by the European Union under the programme – EC Asia Pro Eco II.


The project reached over 19,000 direct beneficiary HHs in four municipalities and more than 60 municipal staffs. The project developed the capacity of municipalities and stakeholders in assessing wastes, and analysing opportunities together with constraints. The project strengthened the institutional capacity of municipalities on planning and implementation of ISWM plans by setting up environmental wings that contained knowledge and resources gained from ISWM project. Scaling up and sustainability of the project was ensured through disseminating project learning, establishing links between international good practices and setting up central ISWM Resource Centre in MuAN. Linkages with other municipal association including European cities were strengthened through MuAN’s existing networks.

Promising practices

The project mainly focused on capacity building of the beneficiaries. City and Ward Level Waste Management Coordination Committees developed participatory ISWM plans in their respective municipalities. The plans were later endorsed by the municipalities to collect and recycle wastes at small scales at the community levels. While doing this, environmental wing of each municipal office were strengthened with equipment, knowledge and resources on ISWM approaches/techniques. Development of local level institutions and endorsement of ISWM plans by municipalities has ensured sustainability of the ISWM approach.

Achieving impact at a scale

Formation and strengthening of City and Ward Level Waste Management Coordination Committees and the development and institutionalisation of ISWM plans have changed the conventional way and practices of municipalities in dealing with waste management system. Introduction of three key ISWM dynamics - identification of stakeholders; assessing and analysing waste elements; and finally institutional, technical, financial, socio cultural, legal and political aspects have been well internalised by the municipalities and their stakeholders. It is expected to continue as municipalities have endorsed the plans and is ready to allocate their annual budgets. The most important aspect is the involvement of all stakeholders in closing the loop of waste stream from waste generation to final disposal by promoting 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) practices.

The project knowledge was instrumental to include ISWM approaches in the new strategy and Solid Waste Management Act under formulation by the Ministry of Local Development. The central ISWM Resource Centre was established in MuAN and ISWM website developed.

Technology intervention

The project supported the targeted beneficiaries with various materials ranging from concrete and metal waste segregation units at community levels, community containers, biogas plants, plastic collection centres, ring composting units and community composting units totaling to 79 physical outputs in the targeted communities.

CASE STUDY Tulasa awarded in Innovation Symposium

Tulasa Gyawali from Syauli Baazar, 10 Bharatpur, won first prize in a national innovation fair and was asked to share her story in an international symposium for her continuous effort on utilising waste in urban agriculture.

“I was honoured when I received the first prize. In my house, I have a compost bin and pits and I practice vermin composting too. I do not throw decomposable waste; instead I convert them to resources and use them to grow organic vegetables, she smiles.” ISWM project in collaboration with Bharatpur Municipality had earlier distributed compost bins in Syauli Baazar. Residents of the community do not throw wastes in the street corner as before. People are making compost from organic waste. They separate plastic in their homes and they sell them to the plastic collectors.

According to Tulasa, “this is one of the positive changes from the project. Waste management training to the community has changed people’s attitude toward disposing waste. Now we think waste as a resource.”

Tulasa and other community members were taken to India for waste management exposure visit. “The visit was educating and motivating for me and to my neighbours. We observed the good practice in Forum of Recycle and Environment (FORCE), Mumbai and now we have replicated that practice in our community.”

In Tulasa’s community, 10 HHs have built a masonry compost pit in order to accommodate more organic waste and to sell the compost to the local nursery and farmers. This is an example of how awareness can make a difference.

Best practices on solid waste management of Nepalese cities

This book contains a range of best practices on solid waste management from various municipalities of Nepal. It also contains the admirable initiatives of national and local NGOs/CBOs. It is hoped that this book will be highly instrumental regarding solid waste management to urban centres as well as emerging towns of developing countries.

Urban waste pickers in Kathmandu (PRISM)

Nepal, 2011-2014. Urban waste pickers are among the poorest people in Kathmandu valley. This project aims to improve the living conditions of informal workers in the solid waste management sector.

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