Across the globe, people are celebrating World Population Day 2018 on July 11 (Wednesday). And with over seven billion people in the world, one of the major topics of discussion has been waste management system, or lack thereof, especially in the under-developed or developing countries. And as we know it, Kathmandu also struggles not having a proper system.
Did you know:
There are one million residents in Kathmandu, and collectively we generate around 700 to 1,000 tons of waste every day, of which 60% are organic. And of the total solid waste, 75% is recyclable. However, only 25% are being recycled.
Owing to lack of practice to separate degradable and non-degradable wastes, all waste collected are meeting either of the two fates: (i) recyclable materials see a premature end; (ii) all wastes are dumped into the same landfill sites.
This is a lose-lose situation from both environmental and economic viewpoints. The results of reckless waste management are harmful. With time, the waste in these dumpsites turn into leachates with have more life-threatening impacts.
Unlike majority of us though, Aayushi K.C. of Khaalisisi saw an opportunity in the heaps of garbage, where the rest dared to not even look, and embarked on a journey to help solve this issue of waste management in Kathmandu. Her vision has now revived the age-old recycling process and created a power to change lives.
How Khaalisisi came into the picture:
In February 2017, Aayushi decided to establish Khaalisisi, a social entrepreneurship venture with an aim to tackle issues of solid waste management in Kathmandu. She started it as an attempt to make waste management a fun family activity. She also wanted to change the biased mentality people had against ‘ kawadiwalas’ (scrap-collectors) or as she likes to call them, ‘khaalisisi friends (KSFs)’.
Aayushi, a former USAID-employee, started a Facebook page with a single KSF. She started to educate people about the importance of waste management, which starts from home, and ultimately promote a cleaner and greener environment.
The venture has been appreciated by all and seen immense growth, nationally and internationally. Today, it has three full time-employees and over 150 KSFs working in collaboration.
How does Khaalisisi work?
Khaalisisi.com is an online for-profit venture that works in collaboration with the scrap collectors in Kathmandu and Lalitpur. It has a unique business model connecting scrap collectors to households and institutions with the help of a digital platform. It has widened business opportunities for KSFs, who used to roam all day on bicycles before and had limited clients.
The first step is to segregate solid waste from your kitchen waste (mostly food items/leftovers). Once you decide, what you no longer need, you can reach out to Khaalisisi.
Next step is to visit their website. With simple steps, schedule a date that is convenient for you along with the time of the day and your contact information. According to the information provided, one of the KSFs will visit your house and collect your trash. You can choose to either donate or sell the materials. It is as simple as that.
Of the total money a KSF makes, 85% goes straight into their pocket while Khaalisisi takes a 15%-commission. This covers day-to-day expenses of the company and 10% of the profit they make from donated wastes are collected in a fund, which is further invested into the betterment of its KSF-community.
Founder Aayushi shared that there has been an increase of up to Rs. 10,000 in the monthly income of KSFs after working with Khaalisisi.
Aayushi’s idea to reintroduce the system has brought about changes not only in ways people recycle or dump their waste but also in the way people treat those who collect them.
Change is difficult to adapt. But one that betters our lifestyle, home and the community is worth the try. Rather than throwing things recklessly or just storing them in a corner of your house, you can take a step forward and join Khaalisis’s journey to solve the issue of waste management in Kathmandu.
For more information on what Khaalisisi is and how it works, visit https://khaalisisi.com.
Submitted by: Sudarshan Rajbhandari