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Before the 1950's Kathmandu's solid waste, that constitute a large proportion of organic waste, and the liquid

waste were taken care of at the very place that i t was produced. The waste was used as fertilizers. As the population of Kathmand u boomed, so did the number of houses and the waste generated. Similarly, the am ount of land used for agriculture also declined. The cumulative effect was the i ncrease in waste and this led to the waste management crisis in the valley. In the early 1990s, people near the then-existing landfill site at Gokarna oppos ed the landfill and obstructed its operation many times, resulting in waste accu mulation on the streets of Kathmandu for several days, or inappropriate disposal of waste along the riverbanks. Later when the life of the Gokarna landfill site was finished, no other landfill site could be identified within the Valley. Due to public opposition, and Kathm andu's waste continued to be disposed off along the riverbanks. In 2005, authorities reached an agreement with local people to operate a short-t erm (2-year) landfill at Sisdol with a plan to prepare a long-term landfill site at Banchare dada in the same locality. The Sisdol landfill site has witnessed much opposition, often resulting in closu re of the land fill site for months. The decomposition of the organic matter at Okharpaua site produces highly polluting liquid, called leachate, and gases (mai nly methane and carbon dioxide). Leachate can percolate down, causing groundwate r pollution. Methane is a combustible gas and explosive when its concentration i n air is between 5% and 15%. Methane can accumulate below buildings or other enc losed spaces or close to a landfill, posing risk of explosion. Other common prob lems are odor; littering by the wind, scavenger birds, rodents and insects attra cted by the organic refuse; and dust and noise generated by the heavy trucks and equipment used in transporting waste and operating the landfill. Similarly, every Kathmanduite knows the plight of the Bagmati River. The holy river has now become a cheap site for liquid waste disposal. This practice had caused inconvenience to the pilgrims visiting Pashupatinath. K eeping in mind the importance of cleanliness of the Bagmati River, a treatment p lant was established at Guheshwari area in 2052 B.S. to treat the part of Bagmat i from Mitrapark to Gokarna. Initially designed by keeping in view the waste of 58,000 households, the plant is now estimated to cater to even more households. The cost of operating the plant is huge because of the heavy use of electricity. The electricity bill amounts to millions of rupees. During load shedding, the plant consumes diesel generated electricity worth Rs F our thousand every hour. But still the plant is unable to treat all the water in the river. The water exceeding the capacity of the plant is bypassed into the r iver. The only output that can be used is the compost that can be made. But this too is in such a small proportion that it is rendered insignificant. All these things show that the urban byproducts of Kathmandu are not managed in a sustainable way. Solid waste in urban areas could be better managed by adoptin g a more integrated approach that uses the concept of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, an d recycle). Some elements of this have been tried on a limited scale in Nepal. A lthough these remain uncoordinated, and out of the mainstream solid waste manage ment practice, for example, there are several small-scale recycling industries u sing waste plastics as raw materials, and paper is recycled in a paper mill and also by some NGOs. Scavengers collect beverage bottles, which are mostly reused, and metal scraps, which are recycled in factories in India and Nepal. Bhaktapur municipality had started a compost plant of about 13 tons/day several years ago. Several NGOs and community groups in different urban areas have initi ated door-to-door waste collection and small-scale composting, including vermi-c omposting as well as briquette production. All these indicate that waste can be converted into a resource, provided the rig ht policy and approach are followed. If only the organic wastes were to be manag ed at the local level, the cost would drastically go down and the waste would be more manageable.