Choki Wangmo

With the signing of grant agreement of Nu 85 million between the Gross National Happiness Commission and the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) yesterday, few Waste Management Flagship Programme activities are expected to be frontloaded.

The amount would be used in equipping Thimphu Thromde with waste collection trucks since the untimely collection and frequency of waste collection was a major complaint from residents.

National Environment Commission (NEC) secretary, Sonam P Wangdi, said that waste management was an emerging challenge and the fund would provide an opportunity to place waste in the centre of economy and further Bhutan’s vision of zero waste by 2030.

“The grant will make a difference in implementing waste management activities like reduce, reuse, and recycle (3Rs) which couldn’t be achieved due to shortage of fund,” he said.

Currently, out of 172 metric tonnes of waste produced every day, about 80 percent of it ends in the landfills in absence of 3Rs.

According to the vision, only about 20 percent of the waste should end up in the landfills, said the chief environment officer with NEC, Thinley Dorji.

The waste management and stray dog population control flagship programme have been allocated Nu 3 billion out of which only Nu 1B is disbursed for the activities under the programme.

Among others, the introduction of different-coloured bins, segregation at source, recovery facilities, drop-off centres, and building of waste management infrastructure are other planned activities funded by the grant.

The flagship programme entails coordinated activities and authorities in waste management rather than fragmented and unimpactful activities as in the past, he added.

Chairman of  BTFEC, Kesang Wangdi, said that it was a proud moment for the organisation to be able to internally fund such frontloading activities as mandated during the trying times as the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that in the future more collaborative activities among the organisations and agencies would be impactful and is much-needed.

BTFEC is an independent grant-making organisation established in 1992. Since its inception, the organisation had supported projects amounting to Nu 1,458 million in the areas of nature conservation and livelihood enhancement.