The lack of suitable equipment makes the facility look full before its time

Waste: Barely three years after Samdrupjongkhar thromde received its new landfill, the place designed to last a decade is today already filled to its capacity.

The landfill, built at a cost of Nu 6.1 million, occupies two acres of land and is located about two kilometres from the main town.  Everyday, two trucks dispose about three metric tonnes of waste.

However, thromde officials disagreed that the landfill has reached its capacity.  They attribute the lack of proper equipment and human resources for not being able to compress the waste with the mud in layers and segregate, which should be the norm for any landfill.

Thromde engineer Yeshey Dorji said the thromde was still trying to get the required equipment, and that the budget has been already allocated.  They are also looking to outsource the work.

He said they do compress the waste with the available skid roller and an excavator but said it was not as effective.

“Physically, the landfill looks like it’s already filling up, but it is not and, as soon as we start compressing, the landfill can be used as it’s designed,” he said. “We also have a composting plant and, once we get the equipment, we’ll segregate the wastes.”

Meanwhile, a new landfill is already proposed to reduce the pressure on the current landfill.  Thromde officials said the landfill is also under threat with many people from across the border coming to collect scrap. When restricted, the miscreants threaten the caretaker to burn the entire landfill.

Recently, they set fire to a part of the landfill when they were lighting a cigarette.  Officials had to call the fire brigade twice and, after reporting to police and forest officials, they have started making rounds.

However, thromde engineer Yeshey Dorji said it hadn’t deterred the miscreants and they have already stolen the entire metal fence and a part of the gate.

Most of the time, the sweepers would have already collected the scrap and non-degradable waste, like bottles and carton boxes before they reach the landfill. “We plan to put a compound lighting and expect the problem to decrease.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar