Jigmi Wangdi  

Volunteers collected more than 3,000kg of waste in Thimphu Throm as part of marking the first International Day of Zero Waste on March 30.

Most of the waste was PET bottles, plastic bags, rags and sacks.

The International Day of Zero Waste was adopted by the United Nations last year and will be observed annually.

Bhutan has been holding a “Zero-Waste Hour” on the second day of every month to achieve the country’s vision of a Zero Waste Society since 2019.

It has become crucial to generate volunteerism to tackle the issue of waste management.

A regular volunteer in the cleaning campaigns said that the general public is complacent with the waste issue.

“The residents, shopkeepers and building owners can do better. Most just keep their surroundings clean and do not clean beyond their areas,” the volunteer said.

The volunteer also said that people do not take up cleaning because they assume others will clean.

“People do not understand that waste is everyone’s responsibility. A few organisations cannot work to address the waste issue completely. We have to do our part,” the volunteer said.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) Chief of the Waste Management Division, Thinley Dorji said that now anyone can become an enforcer for waste management through the Zero Waste Bhutan app.

“If you see anyone littering or dumping waste illegally, they can make a video or take a picture and submit it through the app. The defaulter will be penalised accordingly,” Thinley Dorji said.

He said that the enforcer’s name will be kept secret and will also receive an incentive from the fine levied on the defaulter.

“In this way, we can ensure that monitoring waste management will become everyone’s responsibility,” Thinley Dorji said.