Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Far from the madding crowd on a plateau like land, Dramitse town looks secluded. But the small town is not spared by a problem that many others are grappling with- garbage.

While the issue of a lack of garbage pit was addressed with the identification and development of a landfill site recently, there is no vehicle to collect and ferry the waste generated from the town area and the gewog to the new waste-dumping site.

A shopkeeper, Tshewang Gyeltshen,  said lack of transportation facility made carrying waste generated from the town difficult.

“We have initiated various measures like collecting fine from those who are seen littering in the town and collecting money to hire a private vehicle to carry the waste to the new landfill site, but it didn’t work,” he said.

A 63-year-old resident said his shop produces around three to four sacks of waste, mostly plastic wrappers of junk food items, cans and plastic pet bottles in a month and they are packed in sacks and stored  to be transported.

The shopkeepers find a day to dispose their collected waste to the landfill area.

Tshewang Gyeltshen said the transportation charge is fixed at around Nu 2,000 to hire a bolero on mutual understanding basis, which takes a whole day.

Dramitse gup, Kinzang Tshering, said waste has become a matter of grave concern of late, and the gewog has explored means to solve the problem without much success.

He said that after the waste collection pit below the town was filled and needed additional space, gewog allocated Nu 300,000 from the gewog budget to develop a landfill site at Waichur, around 11 km from the town area towards Mongar-Trashigang highway.

However, as a connecting road of 1.5kms had to be constructed, the allocated budget was not enough and had to use additional Nu 500,000 from the gewog farm road budget and CMI.

“We’re still not able to fence the area and stray dogs worsen the situation,” he said.

On the transportation facility, Kinzang Tshering said waste is collected once a month in the five chiwogs and the town area and the gewog bolero helped in carrying them to the landfill site but again.

“More than eight bolero trips of wastes are collected in a month and carrying it by a single bolero is difficult,” the gup said.

There are around 16 regular shopkeepers and around 25 licence holders in Dramitse town beside a central school and a shedra (Buddhist university). The school and the shedra transport their waste using their own vehicles.

The issue was also raised in the recent Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu. However, dzongkhag officials clarified that dzongkhag could not do anything, as the town is gewog town and not under the municipality.