Yangyel Lhaden  

Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen graced an event to inaugurate Waste Management Facilities in Thimphu. The event was held in Dangrina at one of the nine new facilities.

The event is a step in the government’s Waste Management Flagship Programme to achieve Zero Waste Bhutan by 2030, which is, through effective source segregation, to have maximum material recovery with only the absolute waste of approximately 20 percent requiring safe disposal. 

The flagship programme is introducing waste segregation, collection, transportation, treatment, recovery, and disposal facilities throughout the country in a phased manner starting with Thimphu. The first phase launched today was the inauguration of nine drop-off centres, nine electric waste collection vehicles, twenty-five Waste Collection Facilities for Thimphu and a website for Zero Waste Bhutan.

Other amenities such as Material Recovery Facilities, wet waste management technologies, sanitary landfills, recycling plants and specialised waste treatment facilities are being designed and built through the flagship program.

The electric waste collection utility vehicles will be used to ensure access into the narrow streets and corners of the capital, which existing waste collection vehicles are unable to reach, all the while ensuring emission reduction.

The Drop-off Centres and Waste Collection Facilities was conceived to provide residents with the convenience to drop off waste at any time of the day. The facilities are aimed at also encouraging residents to undertake proper waste segregation and disposal.

Further, the launch of the Zero Waste Bhutan website is to facilitate the dissemination of information of the facilities, the collection timing and the ongoing waste flagship activities.

According to the National Environment Commission, which is the implementing agency for the Program, parallel behavioural change activities and existing regulations on waste prevention and management will be enforced to complement the establishment of the waste management infrastructure. Efforts are underway to encourage understanding of waste as an important sector that unveils opportunities for livelihood along the process.

His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen have expressed deep concerns on waste management as a growing problem especially for urban centres in Bhutan, and have encouraged all relevant agencies as well as the people of Bhutan, to work towards addressing these issues effectively. With the Royal Command that the effective management of waste contributes to nation-building, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, as the Patron of the environment, continues to support national initiatives and efforts in line with this vision.

Other eight drop-off centres in the thromde are in Pamtsho, Babena, Motithang, Changzamtog, Changbangdu, Lungtenphu, Semtokha, and Chumbagang.

Chief of waste management division, Thinley Dorji said that residents would be advocated on how to segregate waste into various categories like wet, dry, hazardous, and other waste by local leaders and through media platforms. “An additional QR code in the drop off centres will help people with a pictorial guide to segregate waste.”

He said that the Zero Waste Bhutan website was launched to educate and create awareness of individual responsibilities on waste management.

Smaller structures for drop-off centres in places with fewer households have been constructed across five gewogs in 20 locations within Thimphu dzongkhag.

 Thinley Dorji said that nine waste collection electric utility vehicles were imported from Italy to try the new environment-friendly technology. “More electric utility vehicles will be imported if the trial is successful.”

The event was also attended by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister in his capacity as the chairperson of the NEC, and other stakeholders.