Waste: More than 626 acres of state reserve forestland (SRF) under Wangdue forest division were found severely infested by solid wastes, as per a survey conducted by the division.

With the construction of hydropower projects, officials said that dumping wastes in the forest has intensified. An official said managing waste in the forestland is challenging as people dumping waste in the forest is found increasing.

Disposing solid waste in forestland poses serious threat to wildlife due to contamination of air, water and land.

People dump wastes within SRF and along the highway knowingly or unknowing, forest officials said. “The division’s main concern is that this would endanger the country’s reputation of being clean and green,” he said.

As per the survey non-compliance, lack of technical knowledge and lack of people’s participation have resulted in weak implementation of rules and regulations besides constraints on financial resources.

The division is still waiting for the approval of proposed financial assistance from Punatsangchu projects to carry out waste management advocacy programmes, according to officials

Tashi Dendup, a forest official said the division keeps informing public to properly dispose wastes generated from any activities.

He said they have also informed all applicants obtaining timber permits not to dispose wastes while sawing timber. The chainsaw operators were also asked to abide by the waste regulations.

“We also have clear-cut directives and terms of reference set while issuing forest clearances,” Tashi Dendup said. It states that any waste generated from the activity should be properly disposed as per the Waste Prevention and Management Regulation, 2012.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue