Choki Wangmo | Tsirang 

Sarpang dzongkhag administration has declared December as Zero Waste Month.  

This means that all residents in the dzongkhag would be working towards keeping the dzongkhag clean, contributing towards a long-term behavioural change in waste management. 

The decision, implemented across the district follows the awareness programme on Zero Waste Bhutan mobile application, enforcement of the Waste Prevention and Management Act and its regulations conducted in October to the head of the gewogs, offices, and institutions. 

The follow-up awareness programme in the district was completed in the first week of November. 

“Heads of the agencies, institutions, offices, and the public were informed about the features and usage of the Zero Waste Bhutan App and fine schedules,” a press release from the dzongkhag administration stated. 

According to the dzongkhag environment officer, Chimi Dorji, the observation of Zero Waste Month would help facilitate and create awareness on the proper management of waste, and advocate the rules if found littering. 

“This would also give time for people to reflect on their waste generation,” he said. 

In the first two weeks of this month, all offices, business establishments, households and public spaces within the dzongkhag administration will be cleaned. 

The following two weeks in the month, he said, would be used to monitor the places according to the Waste Prevention and Management Act and its regulations. “Officials from the dzongkhag, RBP, DoFPS, DeSuung office and other relevant officials will monitor the areas,” he added. 

With its strategic location sharing borders with India, Gelephu in Sarpang is one of the commercial hubs in the country. Records had shown that the amount of waste generated in the dzongkhag has increased over the years. 

The waste inventory 2022 recorded 0.87kg of waste from every household, which equals 0.29kg per person a day in the urban areas.  Gelephu thromde generates 3,504.3kg of waste per day and the vegetable market in Gelephu generates seven metric tonnes of waste in a day. 

The waste generated by rural households has also increased. The inventory this year reported a total of 2089.69kg of waste from the rural parts of the dzongkhag. Each household generated 0.23kg of waste; each person produced 0.05kg of waste a day.  

Chimi Dorji said that the dzongkhag’s waste management activities are impeded by inadequate waste management infrastructure for the storage, collection and disposal of wastes. “Without proper facilities, it becomes harder for the law enforcers to implement the rules.”

Residents said that they welcomed the decision. 

Zero Waste Month would be observed every year in the district.