Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

With increasing modern infrastructure and development in rural communities, plastic waste has penetrated deep into the villages where waste problems had been an alien concept until recently.  

Mounting waste has become an issue in most of the gewogs in Tsirang. Local government (LG) members recently requested the dzongkhag administration to increase the frequency of waste collection to three times a month.

At the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), LG members from Tsirangtoed gewog said that with infrastructure development such as schools and hospitals, waste management has become challenging.

Tsirangtoed mangmi said: “Population living in the gewog has increased in recent years. If the dumper trucks could collect waste thrice a month, it would be easier.”

Currently, a dumper truck alternately collects waste once a month from 12 gewogs.

Tsirangtoed Gup Nanda Lal Kharel said: “It is challenging to manage infectious waste from the hospital.”

The 10-bed hospital opened in the gewog earlier this year. Residents of Phuentenchu, Sergithang, and Tsirangtoed gewogs visit the hospital to avail health care services.

However, while some suggested waste segregation for efficient management, some LG members suggested that the gewog administration should be given the responsibility of managing waste instead of leaving it to the dzongkhag administration.

The dzongkhag’s landfill located at Mendrelgang is also quickly filling up, according to Mendrelgang mangmi Tshering. He said that there was no management at the landfill as waste is strewn all over the place. “Once it fills up, it would be difficult to manage.”

Mendrelgang gup suggested the need to compress the waste at the site to reduce the impact on the environment and the communities.

Senior Dzongkhag Environment Officer Dorji Wangdi, however, said that it would be difficult to send the dumper trucks three times a month to each gewog. The single truck, he said, has been defunct for two months.

He said that with the budget slashed and the rise in fuel price, it has become challenging. The poor condition of the road in the gewogs resulted in high maintenance costs.

In the future, there are plans to outsource the waste collection to private individuals, he said.

He urged the LG members to encourage waste reduction at source for proper management.

First of its kind in the country, the waste collection system by the dzongkhag administration was started in 2016.