Asmita Bhusal , Project Coordinator, GUTHI
While we may find many ways to get rid of the waste we produce without much concern; there are many formal and informal companies who employ manual waste workers, serving to manage our wastes. Despite their huge contribution in maintaining our health and health of our surroundings, the waste collectors are exposed to high health risks.
The profession, which is detested by rest of the society, also lacks much regard for their work from the society. Despite our continuous nagging about the waste management problems of Kathmandu, we rarely give our thoughts to those people struggling to manage the waste and the circumstances they function under.
A recent study conducted at Dallu Awas ward no. 15 of KMC suggests that, at the current rate of waste production and tariff payment for waste collection service, the residents are paying Re. 1 for the management of 1 kg of solid waste. Which in turn results in irregularity of waste collection schedules as the waste collectors cannot run their service efficiently. This again results in our dissatisfaction for the unorganized and irregular waste management services.
An integrated system that address both the parties, i.e. the exploitation faced by waste collectors in terms of economic, social and health risks as well as needs for a proper waste management service of communities should act as key for sustainability in waste management system.
Narendra Man Dongol, a resident of Dallu Awas area, lives with his wife and two sons. Besides his family, he is running a pre-primary school with 60 students and 16 staffs. So, in total the house resides 80 individuals at the daytime. Narendra pays Rs.200 per month to the waste collectors for managing the waste produced from his home. In Narendra’s words, the waste collectors are ok with the tariff paid, as they get mostly the recyclable waste such as paper and plastics from the school. Besides, Mr. Dongol is also encouraging his neighbors to pay tariff for the waste collection service. But, if the waste collection service improves, Mr. Dongol shared that he is ready to pay the new tariff rate fixed by the community development committee.