An Overview of Urban Soil Contamination and Need of Soil Quality Assessment Guidelines in Nepal


  • Birendra Sapkota KarmaQuest International, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada
  • Roshan Babu Ojha National Soil Science Research Center, Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Khumaltar, Lalitpur
  • Hemu Kharel Kafle Center for Water and Atmospheric Research, Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Ambika Paudel Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • Shova Shrestha National Soil Science Research Center, Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Khumaltar, Lalitpur
  • Santa Man Rai KarmaQuest International, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada
  • Sujan Maharjan Ministry of Forests and Environment, Department of Forests and Soil Conservation, Basin Management Center, Gandaki Province, Nepal


Contaminated site management, Remediation, Soil pollution, Soil quality assessment


Soil contamination is a pertinent issue in the context of rapid urbanization, industrialization, and high input-based agricultural practise. In Nepal, rapid urbanization in major cities has caused urban soil contamination. Studies have demonstrated that soils in major urban areas contain several metals/metalloids in concentrations much higher than their background values (e.g., Cd – up to 111 ppm; Cr – up to 309 ppm; Zn – up to 1020 ppm). We reviewed the existing policies and regulations of Nepal related to soil contamination assessment and remediation, with a particular emphasis on urban soil. The legal framework of Nepal lacks a clear mandate, and there is a lack of soil quality assessment guidelines in directly addressing issues of soil contamination. In order to safeguard the environment and human health, national policies and legal frameworks must provide stringent guidelines to set the critical limits of soil contaminants. We recommend a federal approach that could be implemented to develop soil quality assessment guidelines to address source control, delineation and management of contaminated soils.