Supporting the Development of Sustainable Solid Waste Management Strategies for the Mountainous Regions of Pakistan, Indian and Nepal

In developing countries, many mountain communities face significant challenges in managing the growing amounts of solid waste, but unfortunately, they tend not to have developed any new practices or norms for managing such waste., which ultimately causes environmental degradation.

The types and characteristics of solid waste in mountainous regions, and the way such waste is managed, is more closely related to the level of development of their countries, rather than their altitude.

In some mountain cities, waste is disposed of in open dumpsites as opposed to sanitary landfills. While open dumping is by no means unique to mountain regions, mountain environments pose additional risks, particularly if these sites are located near to watercourses, with the potential to pollute water that is used by large populations downstream. One of the main ways in which mountains are linked to lower-lying areas is through rivers. These rivers bring much needed water, but also carry plastic pollution downstream. Therefore a comprehensive solid waste management plan is needed in mountainous area to cater the current needs of environment.

This assignment given to The Urban Unit comprises of an analysis of the current situation of solid waste management; the development of sustainable solid waste management strategies to prevent the generation of solid waste and illegal, open dumping through effective collection, greater recovery and region-proper waste management; and assistance with implementing strategies for the mountainous regions of Pakistan, Indian, and Nepal. Also, this project aims to support the World Bank with the provision of analytical underpinning and technical inputs related to sustainable solid waste management strategies for the mountainous regions of Pakistan, India, and Nepal. The Urban Unit worked to:

(i) to analyze current solid waste management in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, India and Nepal, and to provide the Bank with technical suggestions about region-proper and/or integrated strategies/models that can be used with by the Bank in the sector dialogue with each client country, and (ii) to provide the Bank with technical recommendations that could be analyzed with the client countries as part of the institutional, policy and technical dialogue to promote sustainable solid waste management in the Himalayan states and mountainous regions of the three countries.

Field study for mountainous regions is needed to identify the detailed information about SWM due to lack of literature studies on SWM in mountainous regions. Above all, the survey on the amount and composition of generated and discarded waste in mountainous regions is the most fundamental step in understanding the current situation. Considering the source of solid waste (residents and/or visitors), it is important to understand the life cycle of mountainous waste, including the discharge, collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal thereof. Environmental education and the degree of public awareness of the problem among inhabitants and visitors alike also play an important role in solid waste management.

The Urban Unit successfully completed all tasks by mid December 2019.