Chhimi Dema

Haa dzongkhag with its ambitious tourism goals is facing poor waste management challenges.

Residents say that poor waste management at the household level is the main factor for littering found in the dzongkhag. 

Tshering Dorji, a resident, said that waste is an individual’s responsibility but people litter everywhere. 

The dzongkhag administration and local leaders advocate proper waste management but people care very little about it, he said. 

Haa throm has two garbage trucks collecting wastes once a week in the periphery of the town and twice a week in town.  

However, according to the residents, the garbage truck often misses waste collection routine. 

Tshering Dorji said it is understandable that at times the waste collection delays or misses its collection to carry out maintenance but people should not dispose waste by the road or in the streams when the trucks don’t come. 

Pema, 36, a homemaker, said that waste issue arises because people cannot take care of their wastes. 

“When the garbage truck delays its collection, some people dump it by the roadside or carelessly leave it outside their houses,” she said. 

Pema said that the residents throw their PET bottles or food wrappers everywhere. “They don’t look for waste bins or bother to carry it home to dispose.” 

In villages away from town, waste is increasingly becoming an issue. 

A resident from Talung in Bji gewog, said that people leave their wastes on the roadside. “The garbage truck visits only once a month so we don’t have other options to dispose of the garbage.” 

He said that if people were informed about proper waste management such as segregation or composting, then the waste management could improve in the villages. 

“It would take time for people to understand the importance of proper waste management but we would have cleaner surroundings with time,” the resident added. 

Haa’s environment officer, Sonam Norbu, said that a waste management group was formed in the dzongkhag on March 31 this year to tackle waste issues in the dzongkhag. 

He said that the group was formed to set an example to the community through civil servants managing the waste in the dzongkhag. 

The dzongkhag observes Zero Waste Hour every month to clean their surroundings. 

Sonam Norbu said that the dzongkhag’s effort encourages people to take care of their waste. 

The dzongkhag officials said that there are plans to advocate the importance of waste segregation. 

“People need to change their mindset about handling their waste. They think their waste is another’s problem,” an official said.