ADB Promoting Cooperation on Hazardous Waste Management in South Asia

News Release | 21 February 2007

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB will help four South Asian countries to improve their management of hazardous waste with a grant of US$400,000.

Targeted at Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, the technical assistance (TA) project will help assess hazardous waste problems, draft policy rules to manage waste, and report on the potential for private sector involvement.

"The project will help strengthen cooperation between the four countries, through the sharing of knowledge and identifying ways to use common facilities for safely treating, transporting, and disposing of hazardous waste," says Dewi Utami, an ADB Senior Environment Specialist.

"Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal will be benefit from India's experiences in regulating waste. Ultimately, the four countries should be able to come up with compatible rules on managing hazardous waste. It may also be one day feasible to have common treatment facilities."

Problems associated with the management of hazardous waste vary in the four countries. In Bhutan, which still boasts a pristine environment such problems are only just starting to emerge. As the country lacks institutional and legal frameworks, a system is needed to maintain public health.

Nepal has undertaken several studies and participated in workshops on the issue. The next step will be to develop policies under its Environmental Protection Act.

In Bangladesh, industrial pollution is a major environmental concern. Although an Environment Act and Rules have been put in place, a clear strategy and policy have not yet been established.

India, on the other hand, has a comprehensive regulatory and institutional framework, as well as technical guidelines to handle various types of hazardous waste. However, more appropriate and modern facilities are needed for disposal.

The technical assistance project will review India's regulations and identify ways it can reuse and recycle waste. The project will also design training on preparing waste inventories and developing technical and procedural guidelines for waste treatment and storage, and disposal facilities.

The cost of the program is estimated at $424,000, of which the participating governments will provide $24,000 in kind. The project is due for completion around January 2008.