Fellow Since 2001
Centre for Renewable Energy
This profile was prepared when Babu Raja Shrestha was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
An engineer by training, Babu has turned his attention to a critical need in many cities in Nepal: trash collection and disposal. Starting first in Biratnagar, he is introducing a cost-effective approach for solid waste management that relies on effective incentives and high performance standards. He oversees and finances the effort through a private-public partnership that is adaptable to cities throughout the country. In addition to getting the framework and incentives for solid waste management right, Babu is exploring alternate methods of waste disposal as well–some of which, it turns out, provide additional income for the communities that use them. For example, Babu has revived a rotational trench system of composting once used widely in Nepal's cities. Having re-learned this technique, communities now turn organic waste into rich compost and sell it to farmers. And finally, to curb waste production, Babu reaches the public through campaigns and radio spots, and supports eco-clubs in schools, helping groups of dedicated students to launch their own recycling programs.