Submitted by Society for Environment and Economic Development (non-governmental organization)
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Healthcare waste
2. E-waste
3. Hazardous waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory
2. Technical and scientific
3. Financial
Narrative summary
Nepal (Society for Environment and Economic Development)’s responses to the needs assessment survey suggest that, above all, the country needs to address the problem of specific and potentially hazardous wastes (such as healthcare and e-waste). With only general waste policies available, regulations and guidelines for these specific waste streams are lacking. These wastes are often either disposed alongside MSW, or informally recycled with little attention to environmental and health hazards. In general, therefore, the country’s responses state that the policymaking process and the technical capacity for waste management among all stakeholders should be improved.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste management is ranked as the highest priority need for capacity-building in Nepal. The responses suggest that healthcare waste is often disposed alongside municipal solid waste (MSW). Waste segregation is neglected by the majority of healthcare institutions, as well as during transportation and disposal. The development of specific regulations dealing with the waste stream is therefore a clear priority. The existing law, the Healthcare Waste Management Guidelines (2009), is not comprehensive, and its enforcement by local authorities is rare. Technical education and public awareness campaigns at grassroots level is also needed. Financial resources will also have to be made available so as to facilitate public campaigns and the procurement of waste treatment technologies, especially as the country does not have specific landfills for healthcare and hazardous waste. Therefore, an overall improvement in healthcare waste management is needed, with a focus on the enactment of a clear healthcare waste policy.

E-waste management is also seen as very important to Nepal. The country is consuming electronic goods at an increasing rate, yet studies on waste characterization and effects have not been undertaken in detail. The sole study so far has been “Identification and Quantification of Electronic Products that will convert into E-waste in Nepal” (2007). The responses therefore conclude that Nepal needs to above all identify the e-waste concerns it faces. Specific policies on e-waste are again absent, and the enactment of legislation is another priority. Longer-term areas for capacity-building include the procurement of funds, developing societal awareness, and the coordination of institutions to better enforce future policies.

Hazardous waste
Hazardous waste management is an important priority for Nepal. Above all, regulations addressing hazardous waste need to be developed (a draft policy is in preparation). Without regulations, treatment and safe disposal is currently almost non-existent; hazardous waste is often disposed simply as MSW. Furthermore, studies of hazardous waste in Nepal are incomplete and are not yet practically useful. Although an inventory of hazardous wastes generated by 12 industrial sectors (such as healthcare, automobile workshops) has been developed by authorities, more work needs to be done on the identification of safe disposal sites and the preparation of technical guidelines on waste management. Environmental authorities at both central and local level will need to be equipped with more funds to be able to procure equipment, train staff, and enforce regulations.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management is not regulated by legislation in Nepal. The responses suggest that it is common practice for recyclable or re-usable waste to be segregated and sold by informal actors, but waste of no value is often dumped unsafely. Hence, although industrial waste will also be covered by the hazardous waste policy currently being drafted, legislation and technical guidelines still remain priority areas for capacity building. Nevertheless, the responses propose encouraging pressure groups within society to voice concerns, hastening the urgency among stakeholders to develop better industrial waste management.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
While MSW management policies and guidelines exist in Nepal, enforcement capacity is a priority area for strengthening. There is a lack of funds and skilled human resources in environmental authorities, while equipment, such as that of waste collection, needs to be procured. These shortages hinder the enforcement of existing regulations. The responses propose the use of economic instruments, such as rewards and penalties, to encourage waste generators to participate in MSW management, yet such economic legislation again will require effective enforcement.

Organic waste and waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Nepal has yet to implement specific policies regarding organic waste and WAB. Policies encouraging composting and biomethanation would be beneficial. The private sector, or a public-private partnership model,  are promising as potential drivers of organic waste and WAB policies. Nevertheless, composting facilities or sanitary landfills have not yet been constructed in the country, causing considerable methane emissions due to uncontrolled anaerobic emissions from MSW landfills. The construction of improved organic and agricultural waste facilities is a priority to Nepal. Economic instruments to farmers could also be developed to encourage the management of WAB at the source of waste generation.

Waste plastics
The management of waste plastics is not seen as a great priority by Nepal. However there is still significant room for progress in this waste stream, given that the country recycles only approximately 40% of its potential capacity. The recycling process mostly involves informal rag pickers and the private recycling sector; neither have the means to treat certain types of plastics found in the country, such as lower gauge plastic film. Technology transfer programmes to cover different types of plastics would be welcome, while the better organization of recycling stakeholders, whether formal or informal, may be needed. Regarding governmental policies, a number of “Plastic Free Zones” have been declared in the country. However, comprehensive regulations and guidelines regarding the management of waste plastics have yet to be developed. A clearer and more concrete framework is thus also in demand.