Tshewang Choden

During an interaction with the hawkers in Thimphu, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering encouraged them to use biodegradable cups and plates, practice proper waste management  and to maintain hygiene, among others. 

Lyonchhen met over 30 hawkers at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) office on November 28 to discuss issues they faced. 

“Hawkers who move around the city selling rice porridge and momos (dumplings) are seen littering with plastic cups and aluminum foil plates,” Lyonchhen said. “Because you don’t manage the used plastic cups and plates, it adds to the mounting wastes.” 

Lyonchhen reminded that non-biodegradable items like plastic and aluminum foil plates, unless taken care of, are hazardous.

Due to which Lyonchhen said that the move towards gradually using biodegradable cups and plates by the hawkers is a necessity. Other than an initiative to protect the environment, it also provides the hawkers an identity of their own, he added. 

Aimed at keeping the environment clean and to reduce waste, initiatives like this will supplement programmes launched by the government such as the waste management flagship programme and plastic ban, among others. 

Lyonchhen said that working with consensus among the hawkers themselves is pertinent and suggested to organise a cleaning programme once or twice a month. “You will be seen as someone who keeps the city clean instead of someone who litters the city.” 

A group in Pemathang gewog in Samdrupjongkhar, produces biodegradable plates and cups made from areca nut leaf. This was an initiative towards mitigating the climate change.

Lyonchhen mentioned that the government will try to open a store that sells these biodegradable products for the hawkers. This, the Prime Minister, said is to benefit everyone. “If the number of people purchasing these biodegradable plates and cups increases, the production rate will also gradually increase. In the end, our country will flourish.”

Hygienic practices such as hand washing and use of clean utensils while preparing the porridge and momo was also discussed.