Yangyel Lhaden 

When Thimphu dzongkhag decided to construct waste collection facilities (WCF) in five gewogs through the Waste Management Flagship programme, gewog officials were worried they would not be able to handle the facilities.

Gewog officials stated that villagers would not produce much waste and they would not need it. They were worried people residing outside the gewogs would dump their waste in the facilities and make it difficult to clear them in a timely manner.

After the construction of the facilities was completed, gewog leaders raised the issue again, in the dzongkhag tshogdu. They wanted the facilities that had been constructed to be demolished.

Today, the 17 WCFs are overwhelmed with waste exceeding their capacity, and people leave the waste outside the facility, causing dogs and cattle to scavenge on it and litter the area.

Gewog officials said they are now under pressure to empty the WCFs.

There are eight facilities in Mewang gewog, three in Chang, two each in Genekha, Kawang, and Dagala.

Mewang gup, Chencho Tenzin, said Thimphu dzongkhag has only two pickup trucks for waste collection and waste from facilities cannot be emptied on time.

He said they use trucks from the industrial estate to empty waste when the facilities are full but it gets filled the very next day after they empty it.

Genekha Gup, Karma Gyeltshen, said people outside the gewogs dump both wet and dry waste in the facility. “If the facility is used by only villagers, it will get filled twice a month only. Villagers dump their wet waste in their fields.”

Begana’s tshogpa, Wangdi, said they are also facing difficulties in finding people to offload the waste in the facility. “Without any proper written instructions on how to manage the facilities, we are using the gewog budget.”

Chang gup Ugyen said WCFs are emptied at least twice a month. “The WCF at the RTC junction is a major problem.”

He said with facilities constructed near the road, anyone can use them, and they cannot discourage people from using the facility as it is constructed for the purpose of waste collection. “We have a private individual collecting it every Sunday.”

Meanwhile, gups said they requested that officials conduct awareness programmes for the public and plan proper services to manage WCFs before the facilities were constructed, understanding such problems would arise.

Gup Chencho Tenzin said they were trying to create awareness in villages on different types of waste in their gewog group chat.

Edited by Tashi Dema