People strolling near the archery range in Trashigang are greeted with a foul smell from the nearby sewerage treatment plant.

The smell is generated from an overflow at the 16-year-old treatment plant.

During a recent archery tournament at the range, archers said that the foul smell from the plant affected participation and deterred organisers from conducting tournaments.

“Despite numerous complaints to the municipal office there has been no improvement so far,” an archer, who requested anonymity, said. “Their office is located just nearby. We don’t understand why they have not taken any action.”

Another archer said it is embarrassing when archers from other places participate in the tournaments and they complain about the smell.

A local resident, Sangay, said that without a proper drainage system at the plant, the rainwater stagnates and the stench intensifies during monsoon. “Because the wind blows in the opposite direction, the smell doesn’t reach the town but the people in the municipal office should be aware of the problem since their office is located nearby.”

However, municipality officials and thromde thumi, Thinley Namgay said that they have not received any complaints of the overflow and the smell from the treatment plant.

While the thuemi said that he was not aware of the problem, municipal officials refused to comment.

“There was a plan to expand the treatment plan with support from the Asian Development Bank but there has been no indication whatsoever from the municipal office to date,” Thinley Namgay said.

Currently, the treatment plant receives wastewater from the core town area.

Thinley Namgay said that another treatment plant for the Melphey residents was supposed to be constructed near Keling guesthouse. “So far I’ve received no updates on any of these activities.”

Meanwhile, the proprietor of Sangsel Eco Trade and Environment Services, Zeko, said that the treatment plant was initially built for about 700 residents in 2002. He said that with increasing population, the plant’s capacity is under pressure.

“There is no problem with the plant. We did maintenance works last week and it was found that the plant was in proper working condition,” he said.

He said that the smell must be generating from some blockages since residents dump all kinds of waste in the sewerage system including diapers, broken utensils and other solid items.

The treated water from the plant is drained into the Mithedrang stream.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang