A cleaning campaign was conducted to observe the World Water Day in the core areas of Thimphu yesterday.

It was themed “Nature for Water, exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges.”

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that at present water problem is not as extreme as it is in other parts of the world. He added that as the city expands, the chances of water being contaminated increases. “With weather changes causing springs and streams to dry, it has been difficult to retrieve water at any time like before.”

He said that the next generation should also have access to safe drinking water and that the current water-related problems should be addressed.

More than 260 people were involved in the cleaning campaign.

Thimphu Thromde’s chief environment officer, Yeshi Wangdi, said that three tractors, a tanker, and a truck were deployed for the campaign. “Within two weeks from the campaign, metal nets would be installed in drains segment-wise so that people can become more responsible and to also reduce pollution.”

Desuups, volunteers from Youth Development Fund (YDF), Pelkhil school, Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL), Bhutan National Bank (BNB), economic affairs ministry, Clean Bhutan, Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Thimphu dzongkhag administration, Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL), Thimphu thromde, National Environment Commission (NEC), and community volunteers participated in the campaign.

Executive director of Clean Bhutan, Nedup Tshering, said that if the people were not aware of the negative impacts of the wastes thrown in water, the trend would remain the same. “If people keep on throwing wastes in drains then, one day we may not have access to safe drinking water, as water is also being tapped from rivers.”

NEC officials said that the day provided an opportunity to learn about the significance of freshwater, and promote sustainability of fresh water resources. “Despite stringent environmental legislations that protect the quality of streams, lakes, and wetlands, and other water bodies, solid waste in the form of trash, litter, and garbage and liquid waste from the kitchen, sewerage system often end up in these surface waters.”

The campaign covered areas stretching from National Pension and Provident Fund colony to YDF, YDF to Norzin Lam, Norling to City bus station, and City bus station to Dzongkhag administration office.

Campaign was conducted to improve the water quality of the identified streams and drains, educate residents about wastes, and to replicate the stream clean up for other streams across the country.

According to records with World Health Organisation, contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and polio and that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

Volunteers clean a drain in the centre of Thimphu city as part of a mass cleaning campaign to observe the World Water Day yesterday. More than 260 people participated in the campaign.

Rinchen Zangmo