Phub Dem | Paro

The aesthetic gateway for most international tourists, Paro is fighting a mounting waste problem.

With increasing economic activity and development in the dzongkhag, waste management has become a nightmare. 

In a day, about 10 to 12 metric tonnes (MT) of waste are dumped at the landfill.

The lone landfill at Pangbisa is already filling to the brim. Every space available at the landfill was dug to accommodate the never-ending waste, Paro municipal engineer Kencho Dorji said. 

Chief Executive Officer of Druk Waste Management (DMW), Ugyen Dorji said that the waste generated from the source has drastically increased in recent times due to major business developments and an increase in the hospitality industry in the dzongkhag.   

A new landfill identified at Jashipkha, opposite to Shari High School remains the only hope for residents of Paro municipality. 

Although road connection and designing of the new landfill was complete, the municipality was currently waiting for the environmental clearance from the National Environment Commission. 

Kencho Dorji said that the road construction towards the new landfill was already awarded. He said that the construction of the road was routed through dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) and was allotted Nu 12.5 million (M). 

Until a new landfill is identified, the municipality is building chain-link fencing around the Pangbisa landfill in order to keep dogs away from the dumping yard. 

The municipal office allotted Nu 1.5M for the fencing. 

Another challenge was waste segregation. 

Kencho Dorji said that even if there was waste segregation at the source, both wet and dry waste was dumped at the landfill together. 

Besides illegal dumping in streams, waste thrown in forests and by the roadside was a major concern according to members during the seventh Dzongkhag Tshogdue (DT) held in Paro yesterday. 

Way forward 

The DT passed a resolution to form a committee to formalise the waste management strategy to address the issue of mounting waste problem in the dzongkhag. 

The committee members include all 10 gewog representatives, dzongkhag environment officer, education officer, thromde thuemi, and a representative from financial institutions, among others. 

DT’s resolution also called for collective support from the people and to raise awareness on proper waste management.   

Paro Dzongdag Tenzin Thinley said that the dzongkhag in collaboration with NEC would soon establish waste drop-in centres in Paro. 

DWM is also planning to come up with waste drop-in centres. Its CEO said that the centre would help people to drop their waste when they want to and do not have to wait for the garbage trucks. 

Kencho Dorji said that people should be educated on responsible dumping of waste. “We have warned some people regarding illegal dumping. We haven’t imposed any fines or penalties because it was difficult to trace those responsible.”

He said that wet waste would soon go to community composite centres which were constructed by the dzongkhag administration with support from UNDP. 

Of the six composting centres, one in Khangkhu and the other in the RBA campus in Shaba were opened on February 18.