Credits: Kristin Kelly Colombano
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Cleaning up Nepal's Kathmandu Valley
Garbage left in streets and along riverbanks is a significant problem in Nepal and poses extreme health hazards to residents. Exasperated by this unsanitary "free disposal" system of waste, in 1992, 16 bold women from the Kathmandu Valley formed the country's first non-governmental organization to address waste management. Women Environment Preservation Committee (WEPCO) set out to create a new system to dispose of and manage solid waste in their neighborhood in Lalitpur District, located at the southwest bank of the Bagmati River. Thanks to their efforts, the old and unsanitary system of throwing waste on streets was abolished in Lalitpur, and WEPCO now manages waste from the 1,800 households there. Since then, WEPCO has been at the forefront of environmental protection and waste reduction in Kathmandu, encouraging a new generation to play an active role in local environmental issues.