List of Waste Picker Groups in Kathmandu
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City Report: Interview with a local Waste Picker
A Conversation With: Srijana Devkota Adhikari, Project Manager, PRISM Project. Practical Action: Technology Challenging Poverty Practical Action is a UK based charity organization established in 1966 with the objective of reducing poverty through wider use of appropriate technologies in developing countries with the Head Office in the UK. Practical Action has been working in Nepal since 1979. Practical Action Nepal Office, with funding support from the European Union, has been implementing a project entitled “Poverty Reduction of Informal Workers in Solid Waste Management Sector (PRISM) Project” in Kathmandu Valley. The overall objective of the Action is to improve living conditions of the informal workers in solid waste management sector in Nepal. The specific objective is to enhance social protection of the informal workers and vulnerable groups dependent on solid waste for their livelihoods in five municipalities of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The aim of the project is to provide waste pickers with social protection and recognition.
Official Waste Management SystemIn the Kathmandu metropolitan area, each municipality has a section with door-to-door collection. There is few recycling program and composting operated by private sector. PRISM project has identified 63 disposal sites throughout the Kathmandu valley, there is one sanitary landfill called Sisdone situated in Nuwakot district. There are also some incinerations in few municipalities and some private companies are also working in collection.
Informal Recycling SystemPRISM project has identified 4,400 waste pickers within five municipalities of Kathmandu Valley. Project is organizing waste pickers in a group in the process of integrating waste pickers in SWM sector in Nepal. None of them are in present organized into recycling cooperatives. Additionally, 416 scrap metal collectors have been identified. Currently, waste pickers are collecting from the streets, door-to door and the riverbanks where waste is often dumped, as well as an estimated 63 informal dumpsites. Very few waste pickers segregate. They take mixed waste to the scrap dealers or middlemen. Waste pickers pick up paper, plastic, glass, metals, and organic materials, all of which are generally transported by foot in bags.
Current Central IssuesOrganizing into worker-owned cooperatives has proven very challenging. The main challenge for the advocacy organizations in Kathmandu is motivating waste pickers. The advocacy organizations see health, legal recognition, and child protection as the main reasons to organize.