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Nepal’s e -waste is increasing at an alarming rate

Buying and replacing the latest tech gadgets in Nepal is generating heaps of electronic waste


Nepalnews
2022 Jun 01, 12:32, Kathmandu

The amount of e-waste Nepal is producing is increasing day by day and if not safely managed is going to emerge as a yet another waste management problem in the country.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, Nepal produced 28 metric kilotons of e-waste in a single year in 2019. With the swift advancement of technology, electronic appliances are being used in almost every part of our lives. New electronic devices are bought and old thrown away on a daily basis in the quest for utilizing a better and faster version of technology as soon as it gets released in the market


This constant process of buying and replacing current technology with newer more advanced ones is generating a huge amount of waste known as electronic waste. Electronic waste or e-waste comprises any product containing electrical components.

According to a recent study, ‘E- Waste Management: An Emerging Challenge in Nepal conducted by the Central Department of Rural Development Tribhuvan University (TU), e -waste is increasing at an alarming rate in Nepal.

Developing countries currently lack the funds and resources required to properly dispose of the e - waste. Electronic waste, due to its’ embodiment of toxic chemicals is considered destructive to the environment. Much of these chemicals are non - recyclable like lead, cadmium and beryllium, which if burned can leave poisonous gases in the air.


Most of the discarded mobile phones, telephone, radio, television, computer, refrigerators, air coolers, and other electronic gadgets are being disposed of directly into landfills currently. Instead of further burdening the already overburdened landfills of Nepal, and burning electronic waste openly, professional disposal and recycling is a better and sustainable option to go for in the long run.

“We send the damaged bulbs for repair and the electric bulbs for recycling to India,” says Hari Dahal, who runs an electronic shop in Patan, Lalitpur. When asked if there are any recycling and repair places to send electronics in Nepal, he replied “There is no system for electronics management in Nepal, we are dependent on India for it.” Another shopkeeper at Baneshwar said he throws away the electronic waste straight into the trucks that come for garbage collection in his locality.


“In the last few years there has been an influx of cheap electronic goods. As our income level rises, we continue to move towards a culture of consumerism, so that means there will be more and more electronic waste in the coming years, and we are not prepared to deal with it. We do not have the infrastructure, the knowledge or awareness that we need,” says Kushal Harjani CEO at Doko Recyclers.

As one of the first e-waste recycling companies in Nepal, Doko Recyclers focuses on safe IT asset disposal, secure data destruction and remarketing of electronic goods. “In terms of efficiency, professional e-waste facilities recover up to 95 percent of resources compared to 25 percent recovered by informal scrap dealers. This saves resources, keeps our environment clean and prevents hazards from informal e-waste handles,” says Harjani.


The right to live in a clean environment is upheld by Nepal's Constitution as a Fundamental Right of every citizen. The Environment Protection Act, 2053 of Nepal has taken into consideration the inter - relationship between economic development and environment protection to achieve sustainable development. The government of Nepal addresses all environment related issues under the same Environment Protection Act 1997. This act does not include any provisions for e - waste management at all.

According to Bishnu B. Khatri Lecturer at the Central Department of Rural Development Tribhuvan University (TU), the biggest problem regarding e-waste in Nepal is that the Government of Nepal does not have proper laws and set of rules regarding the proper management of hazardous e-wastes.


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