Today, de-suups in Thimphu will begin a campaign for a green and clean city. The intention is to help beautify the city, but more importantly, to create awareness and encourage residents to help maintain green and clean spaces in Thimphu hereafter.

We need such programmes and sustained efforts in other towns as well.

A 2021 study revealed that under the business-as-usual scenario, prediction analysis for the year 2050 shows that built-up area could consume 73.21 percent of the city area.

By 2050, Thimphu City’s forest cover will diminish to 16.32 percent, with a highly fragmented area of 4.28 sq km (km2), according to the study. It means that the forest cover will reduce by more than half compared to the current coverage of 40.04 percent.

The concrete jungle of cities can often feel suffocating and overwhelming. The constant noise, pollution, and crowds can take a toll on our mental and physical health. Ask any resident of Thimphu or Phuentsholing, they can vouch for it.

With unprecedented construction activities in most of our towns, they are becoming increasingly like any other town in a developing country in Asia. It’s no wonder urban residents crave green and clean spaces where they can unwind and connect with nature.

Green spaces are an essential component of any healthy, livable city. In Thimphu, they can play a critical role in mitigating the impacts of urbanisation, promoting physical and mental health, and supporting Bhutan’s larger environmental goals.

But the benefits of green spaces go beyond environmental considerations. They also play a crucial role in promoting physical and mental health. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can reduce stress levels, boost mood, and improve cognitive function. Green spaces can also encourage physical activities and social interactions, which are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and combating social isolation.

However, the availability of green space is not evenly distributed in towns;some communities have limited access to such spaces. The lack of green space in disadvantaged neighbourhoods can exacerbate health inequalities and contribute to social exclusion.

Therefore, it is essential that city planners and policymakers prioritise the creation and preservation of green and clean spaces. This can involve measures such as increasing the number and size of parks and gardens, creating green roofs and walls on buildings, and promoting sustainable transportation options such as walking and cycling. 

Therefore, it is also important to ensure that green spaces are accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status or location.

We have some hope with the revised Thimphu Structural Plan. We cannot fail again.