After interviewing Bhushan Tuladhar, a visitor can't help being infected by this environmentalist's can-do optimism.
"It is a management problem, and if we can get the politics out of it, both are issues that can be solved easily," says Bhushan, who is now working on building grassroots pressure from the Valley's communities for cleaner air and litter-free streets.
After completing his masters in environmental engineering in the US, Bhushan had his pick of international jobs. But he came home to his native Kathmandu, where Mayor Keshab Sthapit made him an offer he couldn't refuse: help setting up and heading Kathmandu municipality's environment department. He now has an advisory role as a member of the City Planning Commission, and heads the lobby group, Clean Energy Nepal.
Bhushan's experience in urban environment management and recycling means he is often invited to train experts from other developing countries, like at a recent seminar in Sweden. "We have this notion nothing happens in Nepal, but there are a lot of success stories we can share with other developing countries," he says.
Bhushan is convinced Kathmandu's problems have very simple and economic solutions that take very little time and can be done right at home. Kathmandu's garbage is still predominantly biodegradable organic waste that can be turned into valuable fertiliser. Traditionally, Kathmandu Valley's farmers have always practiced recycling organic waste. "We used to have three basic concepts of recycling already in place: waste has value, it must be recycled and it's up to individuals to do it. We must revive this tradition," says Bhushan showing us the dry, odourless fertiliser that comes out of the compost pile in his home.
It helps that Bhushan is someone who practices what he preaches. He pedals to work in his Taiwanese mountain bike, at his office he has a conference table propped up by used truck tires rescued from the municipal dump and at home he makes his own fertiliser compost on his terrace roof from kitchen scrap. He says: "If I don't do it myself, I have no right telling other people that they should care about the environment."