When the garbage truck misses its round, the bags of waste mount up along bends of the roads and empty spaces. We look at these piles and complain of the foul smell and dreadful view of these bags and bags of waste. But is waste really being managed just because waste is being picked up and this eyesore is removed from our sight? If you ever visited the landfill at Okharpauwa, you would realize the extent of the problem and you would wonder how this mountain of waste could even be managed. Each of us are contributing bags of waste regularly, but what do we know about where it ends up? As educated citizens how many of us even bother to take some simple steps like have compost pits or segregate our waste? As residents we are only contributing to the 10 lakh kilograms of waste accumulated every day in Kathmandu. And here is the bigger picture - The World Bank estimates that by 2100, global waste will triple to exceed 11 million tonnes per day!
So where do we even start addressing this gigantic problem that is only growing? Shilshila Acharya shares that first, we need to know how our waste is processed and where it ends up. This stark reality will make us think of our role as contributors to this problem. Secondly, while the government looks for ways to manage waste, as contributors of waste we need to look into lifestyle choices that we make as individuals. The seemingly smaller choices we make can make all the difference.
Acharya is the founder of Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), a youth driven Nepali non-profit committed to social inclusion and climate resilience. She has been leading HCI’s campaign to ban plastic and won WWF Nepal’s Conservation Award for her fight against this pollutant. She has also worked closely with waste management workers through HCI’s Nagar Mitra project. Through her experiences, she feels that though we can take several simple measures while disposing waste like segregation of waste, the solution actually lies in addressing the very root of the problem – and that is the culture of over consumption. Our everyday choices as individuals are contributing to the extent of not only the problem of waste but also all problems arising from depleting resources among others. So if we want to be part of the solution, Acharya suggests that we make conscious choices for every small decision we take as consumers every day. In the video, she explains the extent of the problem of waste in Kathmandu and talks about the changes she has made in her own lifestyle to work towards being part of the solution.