Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen awarded certificate of recognition to Samtse, Tsirang, and Thimphu thromdes for their contribution to waste management and environmental activities in the dzongkhag and thromde.

The certificates were awarded at the opening of the annual environmental officers’ conference organised by the National Environment Commission (NEC) yesterday in Thimphu.

Agriculture minister and vice-chair of NEC, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that this year’s environment day theme—‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ is a relevant theme for Bhutan, where waste management remains a challenge. “World environment day is celebrated to encourage worldwide awareness and action towards the protection of our environment. It is an opportunity for us all to take action as individuals, communities and as a nation.”

As part of environment day celebration this year, a competition was held to encourage waste management for environment protection.

The dzongkhags and thromdes were judged on activities carried out during the environment day observed in the country on June 4 this year and on waste management activities carried out since June 4 last year.

Samtse dzongkhag bagged the first position.  The dzongkhag had poster competitions, advocacy programmes, cleaning campaigns in the gewogs, and water source protection initiatives during the environment day this year.

The dzongkhag together with Royal Bhutan Police and Road Safety and Transport Authority also sensitised more than 100 drivers on waste management.

Samtse also received a certificate of recognition from the agriculture ministry for constructing 800 biogas digesters and for carrying out biogas promotional programme. The dzongkhag plans to replace plastic plates with eco-friendly plates, which is available in the dzongkhag.

Tsirang’s officiating dzongdag Namgay Dorji said that the dzongkhag had plantation programmes, monthly cleaning campaigns, and signage were fixed to deter use of plastics as part of the programme. “Waste collection centers were constructed in all 12 gewogs and 60 chiwogs, waste bins were constructed in every household (67% covered), and CCTV was installed in core Damphu town area.”

Thimphu thromde ranked third in the competition with activities such as plastic recycling project, advocacy and demonstration on turning kitchen waste to compost, enforcement on waste segregation at source, introducing GPS tracking system on waste collecting truck and mobile apps, Ozone Park development, and for converting mini dump yards into micro-gardens.

Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen also awarded certificates to 10 schools with 4Rs activities in Thimphu and environment officers in 20 dzongkhags and thromdes for their contribution to waste management.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and responsibility- 4Rs is a club launched in June 4, 2016 in several schools for carrying out waste management activities. NEC supports the clubs in carrying out the activities. Ten schools in Thimphu received the certificate.

The four-day conference will engage environment officers to discuss and resolve prominent issues and challenges in the conservation of environment and in providing environmental services efficiently to the public.

The conference will also have discussions on environmental issues and challenges, challenges faced in the implementation of environmental acts, rules, and regulations, and review gaps in the existing acts and regulations to make recommendations and required changes.

The conference is conducted with financial support from the government and UN Environment.

Phurpa Lhamo