Waste Management—A Case Study in Nepal

  • Aisha KhatoonEmail author


In Nepal, waste management is a principal function of a local municipality including planning, financing, and delivering the urban waste management services. The national institutions’ role is limited to formulating waste management-related policies and providing technical support. At present, waste management receives a low priority both at the national and local level. Lack of financial resources, human resources capacity, waste management technology, and infrastructure are often cited as the common barriers to waste management. A rapid assessment of solid waste management (SWM) practices was conducted in 16 selected municipalities across seven provinces of Nepal in mid 2018. The study utilized both secondary-data compilation and primary-data collection techniques as the study methodology. The study revealed that the average per capita municipal solid waste (MSW) generation was 0.39 kg/capita/day. The average composition of MSW was: organic (43.6%), paper and paper products (22.7%), plastic (13.8%), glass (6.4%), metals (2.7%), textile (3%), rubber and leather (1.3%), and others (6.6%) (MoFAGA, Baseline assessment, Integrated Waste Management 2018). This composition analysis reveals a higher potential for waste recycling and energy recovery. Despite the potential, waste recycling in Nepal is at a primitive level and at the hands of the informal sector. Recycling is mainly aided by the informal or small-scale formal private sector—the scrap dealers and recycling factories. With thousands of scrap dealers and small-scale recycling companies operating in Nepal, only hundreds are registered; hence, the recycling efforts and revenue from recycling often go unrecorded and unnoticed. Similarly, these recycling arrangements are limited to Terai region leaving the hill and mountain municipalities behind in their recycling target. On a positive light, new recycling companies are being established in Nepal as opposed to earlier arrangements where the collected scrap materials are used to be exported to the Indian recycling companies. Therefore, recycling practice in Nepal should be upscale and institutionalized with environmentally sound technologies and with a larger investment, while still making the recycling activities inclusive of the informal sector.


Waste Nepal Waste disposal Kathmandu valley Recycling 



I would like to thank the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety International (BMUB), Climate Initiative (IKI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (IETC). The Government of Nepal, my colleagues at LEAD Nepal and the enumerators, for their partnership and support in contributing to this baseline survey.

Statement of ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional research committee and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in the study. Authors appreciate the organization for generous support towards the successful completion of the study.


  1. Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2013). Annual Report. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LEAD NepalKathmanduIndia

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