… still grapples with littering problem

Neten Dorji

Wamrong drungkhag now has its first sanitary landfill which is expected to last more than 15 years.

The landfill, built earlier this year at a cost of Nu 2.6 million, occupies over an acre and is located at about 12km from the main town towards Samdrupjongkhar.  Trucks dump about 20 metric tonnes of waste in a month.

It is a specially designed pit to protected bottom where waste is buried in layers and compressed. This ensures that waste is managed safely by reducing the harmful waste and facilitating safe decomposition.

According to dzongkhag officials, the new landfill is equipped with high-density polyethene flooring, a pipeline and a tank to minimise the environmental effects of leachate seepage.

Sanitary landfill at Mukazor

Wamrong Drungpa Tashi Tenzin said that the installation of a pipeline collects leachate and connects it to a tank. This ensures minimal adverse impact on the environment and prevents harm to the environment.

“It is an effective measure to mitigate the filling up of waste at the landfill,” he said.

Drungkhag’s initial plan was to shift the landfill. However, without public clearance they could not shift to a different location. So the existing landfill was improved.

To keep the highway and surrounding clean, the drungkhag installed disposal units and collection facilities in designated areas. Most places are littered.

Pema, 36, a resident, said that the waste issue arises because people cannot take care of their wastes.

“Most of the people dump waste by the roadside or carelessly throw it into the jungle,” she said. “If people were informed about proper waste management such as segregation or composting, the littering problem could reduce.”

A civil servant said the drungkhag observes Zero Waste Hour every month to clean their surroundings and the town area.

“It would take time for people to understand the importance of proper waste management. Now, people need to change their mindset about handling their waste.”

He said that the residents and travellers throw their PET bottles and food wrappers everywhere. “They don’t look for waste bins or bother to carry it home to dispose.”

The dungkhag administration advocates for waste management whenever there is a gathering, according to drungpa.

“While the government supports waste management, we are trying to change people’s mindsets towards wastes,”said the drungpa. “The Zero Waste Bhutan application is not active like it was at the beginning of the initiative.”