Residents of Yusipang in Chang gewog, Thimphu, and vegetable vendors along the roadside temporary shed in Yusipang are complaining of unpleasant odour emitting from the regional pig-breeding centre in Yusipang.

The vendors complain that the odour is affecting their business.

One of the residents, Aita Maya, 57, said the foul smell gets unbearable sometimes but they do not have any options to do anything about it. “Sometimes we can’t even walk along the road where a disposable tank is located. We don’t know if they dump the carcass in that tank,” she said.

She said she wished something could be done to stop the odour.

Vegetable vendors say that because of the adour, customers do not even stop to buy vegetables and some ask if the smell was from the rotten vegetables they are selling.

A vendor, Penjor, 48, said they explain to the buyers but not all believe them.

Another vegetable vendor said that because of the smell, the vegetable shed is most of the time filled with houseflies. “Sometimes it doesn’t stink but when it does, it is unbearable.”

The issue was also raised during the gewog tshogde where the people requested the centre to come up with measures to reduce the smell or relocate the centre.

The centre reared the 150 pigs, called as great grand parents (GGP), which were imported on July 18 last year from Thailand. The pigs were brought on a chartered flight.

The imported pigs will be used to breed grand parents (GP) and the parent stock.

There are about 500 pigs reared in two farms at the centre. Officials say that the parent stock will be distributed to farmers and commercial piggery farms to boost the piggery industry and attain self-sufficiency.

The centre’s manager, Choidup Gyeltshen, said they are trying to reduce the odour with certain measures.

He said that they started to fence the centre with CGI sheets to prevent the wind from carrying the smell outside. “Although we can’t stop the smell completely, it will reduce the smell.”

Choidup Gyeltshen, however, said that the work is on halt after the contractor was terminated for not completing the work on time. “We proposed the department to take over the work.”

He also said that the plan to construct two 75 cubic meters and 100 cubic meters biogas plants is already underway and a note sheet has been submitted to the livestock department. “The biogas plants will reduce the smell drastically.”

He explained that the biogas plants would convert waste into gas, which would be used to heat the rooms for the pigs and wouldn’t be released in the open air. “We’re hoping to complete the construction of the plants within 2017-18.”

He also said there is a plan to plant trees to contain the smell. He, however, refuted the claims of carcass being dumped since there have been no deaths so far. “Even if a pig dies, we will dump it in the biological pit at Serbithang after following a certain procedure.”

Livestock production officer, Sonam Norbu, said the pigs are monogastric animals, which would produce foul smell.

Meanwhile, the country produced 729,639kg of pork meat last year and sold 564,238kg of pork in 2016, according to the livestock statistics.

Yangchen C Rinzin