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As the population of Kathmandu increases, plastic usage and thereby waste generation is also growing. Approaches to managing waste in the capital include unorganized dumping and open burning. On average, 48% of the waste in municipalities is landfilled, while 32% is burnt, and 27% is openly dumped on riversides. This project will set up plastic collection points along rivers and make use of it, intercepting it at the source. The informal sector plays a crucial role in waste management for Nepal. Informal waste workers range from collectors to waste pickers and scrap dealers.

The value chain for collecting plastics is strong, but a facility for the final processing of collected plastic is missing. Creating the infrastructure and putting a system in place to separately collect and handle the different types of collected plastics, as well as the volume that is required to be profitable will reduce plastic littering. This project will set up a small-scale, locally run pilot plastic recycling facility that can manage both high- and low-quality plastics, something that to date is not found in Nepal.

When the plastic has value it will be collected, not thrown into the environment. Many of the estimated 10,000–15,000 waste pickers working in Kathmandu Valley are women, but they are among the most marginalised. There is an enormous untapped potential to increase the capture of plastic by increasing the capacity of the informal waste sector, especially women.

The project activities are:

  • Identifying the main sources of plastic entering rivers in Kathmandu Valley;
  • Mapping the challenges that Informal Waste Workers are facing;
  • Increasing the recyclability and value of plastics;
  • Building the capacity of women in the informal waste sector;
  • Communicating and raising awareness on the ability of women informal waste workers to reduce plastics.

This project is financed by The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund under grant agreement 12439.

Status: In progress

Type: Polar

Programme: Polar and Climate

Tags: Asia gender equality Himalayas Mountain waste waste and material resources water

Related Sustainable Development Goals

GRID-Arendal's activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.

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