Danger of keeping flowerpots on terraces

Safety: A powerful wind blasts through the main street of Thimphu. A man runs after the hat that flew off his head. A pickle jar dropped from a five-storey building, narrowly missing a man and his toddler.

Terraces and balconies of buildings, not just in town, are filled with dangerous loads like flowerpots and pickle jars.

Potted flowers on windowsills and verandas certainly add colour and life to one’s home, but they pose serious risks to people walking below.

Thimphu thromde officials said that there are no rules or regulations that say residents are not allowed to keep their potted plants or pickle jars outside their windows or on the balconies.

Thromde’s officiating chief with the environment division, Tshering Penjor, said that it would be difficult to stop residents from having potted flowers and pickle jars on windowsills and verandas. “However, we can notify the residents to be responsible by keeping the pots and jars tightly secured.”

Recently, a flowerpot fell from a building’s balcony in Hongkong Market. Luckily no one was injured. After the incident, a vegetable vendor approached the division seeking permission to build a protective roof.

A building owner in Norzin Lam, Karma Wangmo, said although she does not see any risk having flowerpots on the balconies and windowsills as long as they are securely placed.

“It is the duty of the owners and tenants to make sure that the flowerpots or pickle jars are safely placed,” Karma Wangmo said.

Phuntsho Choden likes to grow potted flowers because they brighten the place. She said that people should, however, make sure that they are safely placed so that they do not fall.

A shopkeeper, Sonam, said that some of the tenants in the main town have flowerpots hanging dangeriously while some have kept potted flowers on a loose plank on their balconies.

Sonam said: “In the event of heavy windstorm, the pots could fall and injure pedestrians. Authorities concerned should make people aware of the risk and carry out preventive actions and find solutions before something bad happens.”

Yeshi Dorji, a corporate employee, said that the risk of objects falling from tall buildings is high during the windy season. “Not only flower pots but anything that is kept carelessly can fall and be a threat to life.”

Recently, a car parked along the Norzin Lam was damaged when a window glass of a four-storey building came off.

“Considering the safety issues, we need to discourage people from keeping flowerpots and pickle jars on windowsills and balconies,” Yeshi Dorji said.

Dechen Tshomo

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