As Thimphu thromde grapples with growing waste problems, the thromde has proposed the Gross National Happiness Commission requesting for 20 more waste collection trucks.

According to an environment officer with Thimphu thromde, Tshering Yangzom, one of the main problems faced in managing waste is due to the lack of enough vehicles to collect waste. The thromde today has 26 garbage collection trucks mostly donated by Japan and procured from India.

However, she said that these vehicles often break down and the thromde fails to reach some places for waste collection.

Thimphu Thromde’s chief environment officer, Yeshi Wangdi, said that even for private service providers, the main problem is the trucks breaking down, as they are old.

“If we have around 20-25 new trucks, then our problems regarding waste collection will be solved,” Tshering Yangzom said.“We have divided garbage collection trucks for different service providers -13 trucks for Greener Way, five for Clean City (northern parts) and rest of the vehicles for backup services,” she said.

Yeshi Wangdi said that according to the contract requirement, the two service providers have to have a minimum of 17 trucks on the road a day for waste collection – 13 from Greener Way and four from Clean City. One truck with Clean City and four trucks with the thromde are kept as backups.  “If there are 17 trucks on the road, we can at least cover the thromde but the time has to be managed properly. If the time, frequency and route are not managed and monitored properly, 17 trucks will not be enough.”

The trucks have to function six days a week.

Yeshi Wangdi said the service providers however, cannot take day offs on weekends and government holidays. This is to make it convenient for people who wait for waste collection trucks.

For better waste collection, Thimphu thromde is divided into south (from Changzamtog to Serbithang), north (from Kawajangsa to Dechencholing) and central, which includes places such as Changangkha, Motithang, Norzin Lam and Yangchenphu areas.

The thromde collects dry waste once a week and wet waste twice a week. About six trucks of dry waste and two trucks of wet waste are collected a day from the north and about 10 to 11 trucks of dry waste and five trucks of wet waste from the south and central.

The thromde also has eight inspectors looking after different issues around the thromde such as road and drainage, illegal soil dumping, and waste. From the eight, three inspectors look after waste – one each for north, south and central thromde areas. According to inspector Singye Dorji, they have to monitor illegal dumping of garbage, construction and soil dumping, car washing and releasing of waste.

He said they have to also attend to complains related to sanitation issues.

Beside the inspectors, they also appoint some informers from the community to minotor illegal disposal of garbage. “If they see someone throwing waste in a place other than the approved site, they will call the inspectors,” another inspector Sonam Tshewang said.

Thromde had set a policy where there should be two bins for every households across the city. “I feel that, this policy is being followed by the people, as we never collect dry and wet waste together,” said Tshering Yangzom.

Kinley Rabgay and Karma Cheki