HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A recently enforced legislation to manage solid waste in cities has become outdated as the agency which was given key waste management roles was assigned to work under a newly-created ministry.
The Solid Waste Management Act-2011 gives crucial responsibilities to an agency under the then Ministry of Local Development –– Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre, which is now under the ambit of the newly formed Ministry of Urban Development.
The restructuring of the ministries has left the waste management centre in a state of confusion. The law states that the Local Development Minister and the secretary at the Local Development Ministry will lead the waste management council and waste management committee respectively. However, the Local Development Ministry has now been baptised Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.
“Our new terms of reference states that we are to work under the Ministry of Urban Development. However, the law has no such provisions,” said Dipendra Oli, legal officer at centre.
Oli said that all the major activities of the body related to policy-making and drafting of regulations and welfare of the employees have been obstructed following the restructuring of the ministries. “We are unable to do anything without approval from the chairperson of the waste management committee,” he said.
“We have already informed the ministries concerned about our problems,” said Oli. “A board meeting of the concerned ministries needs to decide immediately on the issue,” he added.
The Solid Waste Management Act, approved by the Parliament on May 26, 2011, says those disrupting disposal of waste can be sentenced to up to three months in prison. provisions a punishment of jail sentence up to three months against waste disposal disrupting agents, not allowing anyone to call strike or obstruct the waste disposal process.
The Act states that households and businesses should separate degradable waster from the non degradable. “Otherwise, they would be deprived of state services and punished.”
Sumitra Amatya, executive director at the waste management centre, said that the issue should be forwarded to the Cabinet. “The secretary at the Ministry of Local Development and Federal Affairs needs to forward the documents to the Council of Ministers,” she added.