…to be implemented during the next three years

Funding: The Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) yesterday officially approved four environmental conservation projects worth Nu 48.88 million (M) to be implemented during the next three years.

BTFEC provides conservation grants to agencies and individuals to address environmental issues.

The Phuntsholing-based College of Science and Technology (CST) will receive Nu 14.62M for development of appropriate onsite sanitation technology for reducing public health hazards and environmental pollution in urban areas. BTFEC’s chief programme officer Ugyen Lhuendup said the CST will develop a waste water treatment technology in collaboration with a foreign agency.

The Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve in Haa under this project will improve its management system, construct offices and train staff as it is a new park. It will receive Nu 14.75M.

National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries will receive Nu 12.59M to study species composition and distribution of fishes in Manas, the Aiechhu and Nyera Ama basins.  The chief programme officer said there will be more fish species identified at the end of the project.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) will receive Nu 6.924M for strengthening its environmental auditing capacity. This is expected to contribute towards protection and conservation of environment.

Ugyen Lhuendup said two persons will be trained on environmental auditing for three years in Thailand. An example of environmental auditing is the assessment of how much a mining quarry is affecting its surrounding settlement and environment.

“Environmental auditing is very important these days,” he said.

The money will be released over the next three years as per the work plans. “We will assess the work progress every six months,’ he said.

BTFEC was established in 1992, and is the world’s first conservation trust fund. Its primary goal is to promote social welfare through environmental conservation.

There are currently 44 projects being implemented by the government, Civil Society Organisations, communities and individuals.

More than 169 projects have been funded since 1993.

MB Subba