Phub Dem | Paro
Waste is a growing concern in Paro.
With the global pandemic affecting the scrap businesses, the amount of waste going to the landfill has doubled.
According to garbage truck drivers, the recyclable wastes were directly dumped into the landfill without segregation.
They also say recycle wastes such as cartoon boxes, pet bottles, glasses, and rods are filling up the already full landfill at Pangbisa.
Usually, waste handlers of Druk Waste Management (DMW) segregate the wastes but with border gates closed and no scrap business, the employees left the work.
Chief Executive Officer of DMW, Ugyen Dorji, said that he could not afford to keep the employees as there was no alternate source of income from waste. DMW had 18 employees.
He said that there was no place to sort and stack the waste.
Currently, Ugyen Dorji and some volunteers clean up the drop-in waste centres around Paro. There are four drop-in centres.
Ugyen Dorji said without proper management, people throw waste all over the place and not in the designated bin.
A dzongkhag official said that DMW and dzongkhag administration had been cleaning up the drop-in centres, but people continued to throw waste all over the place.
He said that the dzongkhag administration planned to allow DWM to manage the drop-in centres, but it was cancelled, as DWM do not have waste handlers. “The gewog administration is looking after the drop-in centres for now. After recruiting some staff, DWM will manage the centres.”
He said that the dzongkhag would propose a separate budget for waste management during the upcoming dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) and request the gewog administrations to contribute Nu 60,000 annually as a waste management budget.
“The budget will provide some incentive to waste handlers such as DWM,” he said.
With the lone landfill filling to its brim, the dzongkhag is still waiting for environment clearance from the National Environment Commission (NEC) to set up a new dumping yard.
A new landfill is identified at Jashipkha, opposite to Shari High School.
Paro’s municipal engineer, Ugyen Eden, said that the road construction towards the new landfill was already in process.
The dzongkhag official said that NEC has to finalise the waste management flagship programme to approve the clearance.
He said that the health ministry committed to provide one incinerator to burn quarantine waste.
The government also allotted Nu 22 million to procure two dump trucks.
Without a dump truck in the dzongkhag, he said that it was difficult to cater to rural and drop-in wastes. “These interventions will address waste issues.”