100 Million Gallons of Clean Water for Kathmandu

On this year’s Earth Day we celebrate a clean water initiative started by Label STEP ten years ago in Nepal. Together with environmental engineers and leading dyeing factories waste water treatment plants for Kathmandu’s carpet and pashmina industries were developed.

The discharge of industrial waste water into the farmlands on the Kathmandu periphery caused serious environmental damage and led to protests by neighbours and farmers. The construction of Waste Water Treatment Plants effectively solved the problem and today the cleaned water from the dyeing mills is used by the farmers to irrigate their fields.

The two dyeing factories participating in the project have the capacity to dye more than 22,000 pounds (10’000 kg) of yarn per day. Their STEP supported Waste Water Treatment Plants allowed for the cleaning of 100 million gallons (375 mio litres or 375,000 cubic meters) of water since their launch. Every new working day up to 25,000 gallons of water are cleaned.

STEP’s ambition at the launch of the project was not only to introduce a technology which effectively cleans the waste water. It should also be well adapted to the resources and capacities of an artisanal industry. The fact that the facilities are still used today underlines their practicality. To monitor their effectiveness, Label STEP regularly takes water samples and has them tested by independent laboratories. The last sample was taken earlier this year – all parameters are within the legal tolerance limits for safe, clean water.

  • From the archives: waste water discharged without treatment
  • 22,000 pounds (10’000 kg) of yarn is dyed ever day by the participating factories
  • Approx. 10 litres of water are used to dye one kg of yarn
  • Safe and healthy working conditions also at dyeing factories are STEP Fair Trade Standard requirement
  • The STEP Waste Water Treatment Plants can clean up to 25,000 gallons (100,000 litres) of water per day
  • The quality and safety of the treated waste water is regularly tested by independent labs
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