A sustainable solid waste management plan for sagarmatha (Mt Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone, Nepal

Alton C. Byers, Tommy Gustafsson, Milan Shrestha, Netra Chhetri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Solid waste management is one of the most challenging issues for authorities in the Mt Everest region of Nepal, exacerbated in recent years by the rapid and continued growth of tourism. Open and unsightly landfills in the vicinity of villages along the main trekking routes are creating serious public health and environmental concerns, primarily because of their routine burning, resultant release of toxic chemicals, and contamination of groundwater supplies. Following 2 community consultations held in Namche Bazaar and Kathmandu in July 2019, a sustainable solid waste management plan was developed by the authors at the expressed request of local stakeholders. Based upon a collaborative approach, the plan proposes the implementation of a 4-point waste management process: (1) routine segregation of waste type at its source by lodges and home owners, (2) collection of recyclable waste from lodges and households and/or transfer of waste by lodges themselves to environmental stations, (3) transfer of all segregated waste to material recovery facilities for preprocessing and packaging, and (4) transfer of preprocessed materials to Lukla airport for transportation to Kathmandu and/or other recycling facilities. In January 2020, the plan was formally presented to local authorities, who, at the time of writing, are considering available options for its implementation. It is suggested that progress toward the sustainable management of solid waste in Khumbu be closely monitored in the coming years, as success here could provide working models for other heavily visited regions throughout the high mountain world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A1-A9
JournalMountain Research and Development
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • Mt Everest
  • Nepal
  • high mountains
  • solid waste
  • sustainable management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)

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