We are talking waste again because the problem of waste management has become critically important. With population growth in the near future, waste will continue to be a mounting challenge. The only answer lies in how we succeed in managing them from source down to the dumpsites.
Perhaps the problem really begins at the beginning. We seem to give too much importance in developing legislations, policies, rules and regulation – we have too many of them. But once they are put down on papers and endorsed, we forget their purpose and existence.
Waste management is failing not because we lack the necessary legal instruments but because waste management does not receive the priority it should. We are failing when it comes to implementing the many directly and indirectly related rules and regulations concerning waste.
If the problem of waste must be addressed successfully, it should begin by not considering the rules and policies as leavings themselves, rotting away on the office shelves. Full implementation of laws will solve much of the problems facing the dzongkhags and thromdes currently.
The main challenge seems to be lack of resources – financial and human. Forget landfill sites, many thromdes and municipal authorities do not even have a vehicle to collect waste. And so the problem of waste being discarded everywhere. If waste management were given priority at all, there would not be the problem of lack of budget.
Thimphu alone produces more than 50 tonnes of waste every day. Towns in other parts of the country are growing rapidly, and the problem of waste will only grow with them. Therefore, it is vital that we have a workable system to deal with the growing problem of waste.
When our drains and roadsides are filled with garbage, it is time we gave waste management a serious thought. When our rivers and waterways are choked with grots and litter of kinds and kinds, it is time we looked at the problem of waste not with stoic response and implemented the rules and regulations sincerely.
Agencies and offices must come together and find out why things are not working and what needs to be done to manage waste effectively. The sooner it is done, the better. Otherwise, we will soon be buried under waste.