Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

With massive expansion taking place in Gelephu, waste is likely to be one of the biggest problems facing the city if plans are not put in place at the earliest.

The landfill at Samtenling is quickly filling up, as waste comes from many gewogs to the site.

Sarpang’s environment officer, Chimi Dorji, said that the landfill filling up so fast would lead to further problems in the future. “The best, for now, is to manage the waste in their respective areas until we have facilities, including waste collection service.”

If all 12 gewogs dump their waste to the landfill, it would be filled within a few years, he said. “We are only talking about the waste issues in our own areas, but seldom think about the sustainability of the disposal sites.”

The landfill, which is located 11km from the town, is already 50 percent full.

Thromde’s chief environment officer, Tenzin Wangchuk, said that the thromde reduces the waste volume at the landfill by compacting the wastes three times a year.

“Some people dump their waste in the drain and bushes. People’s understanding and attitudes toward waste management need to change,” he said.

He said the lack of factories and business entities to recycle waste also contributes to poor waste management in the dzongkhag. “In other countries, about 80 percent of the waste is reused.”

The thromde, he said, has identified a site for vermin compost.

Tenzin Wangchuk said that the thromde has also proposed a budget for composting organic waste. “The organic waste from the vegetable market would be composted. We collect one metric tonne and 700kg of wastes every day.”

Following a consultation meeting with the Department of Environment and Climate Change and the Sarpang Dzongkhag Administration, the thromde has identified about 34 acres for the integrated landfill in Gakiling gewog, 21km from the town.

Waste-segregation, recycling, incineration, and decomposition would be developed at the site.

Tenzin Wangchuk said that incinerators are required to reduce the waste issues in the dzongkhag.