In the last six months, Tsirang has collected over 20,000kgs of garbage from its villages and town through cleaning campaigns.

The dzongkhag marks the first Saturday of every month as a ‘cleaning campaign’ day, in all gewogs, chiwogs and villages.

Officiating environment officer, Janchu Dorji, said that from the villages, wastes are brought to collection centres. “There is at least one collection centre, constructed at a cost of about Nu 2,000 in a chiwog.”

He explained that one of the three-garbage collection trucks in the dzongkhag is solely designated to collect waste from these collection centres and dump it in the dump yard at Dhajey, about 10 kilometres away from Damphu town towards Gelephu.

Jangchu Dorji said that the number of people participating in the cleaning campaign is increasing. “From about 1,200 participants initially, the number has increased to 2,200 now.”

He said that during public gathering, awareness on keeping the environment clean is created. “People need a constant reminder.”

He also said that a recent waste management survey found that at least 70 percent of the households in Tsirang have dug up garbage pit.

With the initiation of this cleaning campaign, a visible impact is the absence of garbage in Damphu town. Damphu town has started wearing a neat look, with less pungent urine smell in and around the bus terminal and taxi stand.

To make sure the town is clean at all times, Damphu municipality has formed a committee of four people to regularly monitor waste management and illegal construction in the town.

According to an office order issued on August 23, the committee is required to monitor the town thrice a week.

Following the order, the committee inspected the town last week to penalise any illegal construction, encroachment on government land or disposal of garbage such as construction debris. The four-municipality officials had penalty receipts to penalise any defaulters but on requests from the residents, no penalty was levied.

“Except for a few, people have become responsible and are complying with waste management initiative,” one of the committee members said.

The municipality is also not allowing any vegetable gardens in the core town area. “Residents can instead plant flowers,” an official said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang