90 per cent industries lack waste management system

Kathmandu, April 30

While waste management remains a growing challenge in cities across the country, including Kathmandu, a recent survey has revealed that 90 per cent of industries which produce toxic waste are operating sans a waste management system.According to ‘Environment Statistics of Nepal-2019’released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 89.3 per cent of industries didn’t have solid waste management facilities. The survey was conducted in 4,076 industries under 20 different categories.

As per the existing laws all industries are required to instal an inbuilt system to manage all kinds of waste that are hazardous to the environment.Among them, only 18.9 per cent of industries that are categorised under ‘Chemical and Chemical Products’ had waste management facilities. Environmental experts said that chemical industries were likely to produce more hazardous waste than other industries or waste products from households. The survey was conducted in 132 industries.The survey found that only 19.8 per cent of rubber and plastic industries which also produce equally toxic waste were equipped with waste management system. Out of 237 such industries, only 47 had installed a mechanism to manage solid waste.

Food and Beverages industries, according to the survey report, produce the largest amount of industrial solid waste. However, only 12.7 per cent of such industries have solid waste management mechanism. Out of total 1,065 food and beverages industries, only 135 have installed the mechanism to properly dispose waste.The status of reuse and recycle in these industries are even worse as only 2.8 per cent of all the industries follow the reuse and recycle process. Meanwhile, only 3.9 per cent of total 4,076 industries have obtained pollution control certificate from the International Standard of Industrial Classification.

Solid Waste Management Act 1997 requires the government to ensure that industries control different kinds of pollution like water pollution, air pollution and noise pollution. However, the Department of Environment, a responsible body to keep track of waste being produced from industries said that it could not force the industries to abide by the law.Information officer at DoE Shankar Prasad Poudel said, “We are authorised to check pollution level of any industries. We can also write a letter to such industries if found producing waste higher than the permissible amount. But, it is now the jurisdiction of the local government to take action against errant industries.”

Poudel also said that the department severely lacks environment inspectors to inspect all industries across the country. Currently, there are 11 inspectors working under the DoE. Local Government Operation Act has provisioned that all kinds of pollution or waste management issues of industries should be handled by the local governments in their respective areas. But, it still remains unknown how many local governments have introduced bills regarding mechanism to control waste produced from industries under their jurisdiction.

Hari Kumar Shrestha head of Environment Department of the country’s largest local government Kathmandu Metropolitan City said that they are yet to formulate an act regarding the issue. “Besides, we are not sure if we have enough resources to regulate industries in term of waste management,” he said adding that the department has been, as of now organising awareness campaigns at industries urging them to safely dispose waste products on their own.Environmentalist Narayan Prasad Sapkota said, “Industrial solid waste management must be treated as a serious issue by the government as these waste are directly connected to air and water resources.

 Source: The Himalayan Times




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