Developing a Conceptual Model for Spatial Integration of Waste Management Data in Kathmandu

Solid waste management is a major challenge of urbanisation in Nepal. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is one such city in Nepal where the inefficiency of the waste management system is visible, and the impact of this failed system on the environment and public health is increasingly being questioned. Although municipalities are wholly responsible for the collection, transport, treatment, and final disposal of solid waste, very few have a holistic understanding of the waste problem in their jurisdiction (ADB, 2013). A number of research studies have been undertaken for the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) focused on understanding the waste stream characteristics (Dangi, Pretz, Urynowicz, Gerow, & Reddy, 2011; Pokhrel, & Viraraghavan, 2005), and technical and policy analyses (Dangi, Cohen, Urynowicz, & Poudyal, 2009; Alam, Chowdhury, Hasan, Karanjit, & Shrestha, 2008; Thapa, 1998). These studies identified that solid waste collection rates are far below the 90% claimed by KMC and street sweeping consumes approximately 51% of the solid waste management budget (Dangi et al., 2009). Kathmandu also faces severe constraints surrounding the usage, capacity and environmental safety of landfill sites (Alam et al., 2008; Shrestha & Pradhan, 2008), and there are serious environmental and public health problems in the unsustainable current practice of the illegal dumping of solid waste on the river banks (Pokhrel & Viraraghavan, 2005).


There are opportunities to address these issues, however. A significant component of household waste and waste from restaurants, hotels, schools and streets is organic (Dangi et al., 2011), and there is willingness by a majority of surveyed households in Kathmandu to segregate waste (Alam et al., 2008). The potential for recovery of organic waste via composting and opportunities for recycling through formal channels is also now well-established (Dangi et al., 2011). Although a lack of finance and management capacity is also responsible for the ineffectiveness and inefficiency in this sector (ADB, 2013), a lack of transparency in waste management data, stakeholders and service delivery have further compounded the problem. To achieve an efficient, effective and environmentally friendly waste management system for Kathmandu, an integrated organizational development approach is required that consists of strategy/vision and leadership, system, structure, style of management, and trained staffs (Sigdel & Koo, 2012).

Kathmandu, like many rapidly developing urban areas around the world, has a complex structure of different stakeholders and spatial distribution of waste generation (Rymkiewicz & Kranert, 2013). Cities with such complexities are moving towards integration of waste management data. Towards this, the proposed exploratory study aims to develop a conceptual model for an integrated waste management data based on an improved, ‘spatial’ understanding of Kathmandu’s waste management systems and a feasibility analysis of developing such a system. The proposed research questions for the study are as follows:

How can Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s waste management plan be improved through spatial integration of waste management data?

1. To recognise the established and emerging stakeholders in the waste sector;
2. To explore residents’ perceptions of waste and the challenges they face in disposing their waste;
3. To analyse the specific local challenges faced in the collection, transportation and storage, of municipal solid waste in Kathmandu; and
4. To explore ways to spatially represent the existing waste management system/s in Kathmandu and investigate the constraints in undertaking this.

This research will allow the exploration of the interface between Kathmandu Metropolitan City, the private sector and informal waste workers towards a bottom-up, participatory and holistic waste management system for Kathmandu.

The methodology to be used will be as follows:
– Review available literature and/or data such as government reports, project documents, etc;
– Conduct community questionnaire surveys;
– Explore the technical feasibility of mapping current waste management systems spatially; and
– In-depth and/or semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in the waste sector.

ADB. (2013). Solid waste management in Nepal: Current status and policy recommendations. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.

Alam, R., Chowdhury, M. A. I., Hasan, G. M. J., Karanjit, B., & Shrestha, L. R. (2008). Generation, storage, collection and transportation of municipal solid waste–A case study in the city of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. Waste Management, 28(6), 1088-1097.

Dangi, M. B., Pretz, C. R., Urynowicz, M. A., Gerow, K. G., & Reddy, J. M. (2011). Municipal solid waste generation in Kathmandu, Nepal. Journal of environmental management, 92(1), 240-249.

Dangi, M. B., Cohen, R. R., Urynowicz, M. A., & Poudyal, K. N. (2009). Report: Searching for a way to sustainability: technical and policy analyses of solid waste issues in Kathmandu. Waste Management & Research, 27(3), 295-301.

Pokhrel, D., & Viraraghavan, T. (2005). Municipal solid waste management in Nepal: practices and challenges. Waste Management, 25(5), 555-562.

Rymkiewicz, A., & Kranert, M. (2013). Spatial integration of waste management data in urban areas: case study of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In Proceedings: Global Geospatial Conference 2013, Accessed at:

Shrestha, R., & Pradhan, C. (2008). Sustainable urban environmental issues, governance, challenges and opportunities: a case study of the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. In Proceedings: International Conference on Sustainable Urban Environmental Practices (p. 189).

Sigdel, A., & Koo, J. (2012). Solid Waste Management of Nepalese Municipalities. Journal of Environmental Impact Assessment, 21(6), 951-964.

Thapa, G. B. (1998). Lessons learned from solid waste management in Kathmandu, Nepal. Habitat International, 22(2), 97-114.


For more information about this research project, please email Dr Neelam Pradhananga at

Last Updated: April 24, 2015

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