Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Gelephu Gewog has been seeing a growth in waste problems over the years without adequate waste collection and management services.

Given its proximity to Gelephu town—3.9km from the town along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway—gewog officials said that the waste issue has been growing.

Gelephu Gup Prem Prasad Katel, during the recent Sarpang Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT), said that a garbage collection service is needed at least twice a month for the improvement of waste collection in the gewog.

“Some residents say that hoteliers from thromde dump their waste in the gewog at night,” he said.

Gelephu Mangmi Sonam Dakpa said that the gewog would soon resume the zero waste hour in the gewog.

“We have plans to make all the six chewogs in the gewog collect their own waste every second day of the month. If the gewogs do not receive any support, we will use the budget allocated for chewog development,” he said.

He also said that the gewog had to dismantle a waste collection center along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway. “It was difficult for us because it used to get filled quickly and created a challenge for us as well.”

The dzongkhag administration has a shortage of garbage trucks for adequate waste collection service.

Sarpang Dzongdag Lobzang Dorji said that the dzongkhag has only one garbage truck, which is currently being repaired.

“We have asked all the gewogs to allocate specific budget from the current budget to deal with the waste issue,” he said.

However, Gelephu Gup Prem Prasad Katel said that since the waste management issue is causing a daily problem, allocating a specific fund for waste management from the gewog’s current budget is not possible. “Otherwise, we would not be able to take up other developmental activities given the shortage of budget.”

Sarpang’s environment officer, Chimi Dorji, said that one of the options for waste management could be privatisation of services. “There were two young entrepreneurs who showed their interest in waste management in the gewog. But the people did not support the idea during the public consultations.”

DT has decided to consult with the Gelephu Thromde for the waste collection service and also to write to the department of environment and climate change for additional garbage truck for Sarpang.

Thromde’s chief environment officer, Tenzin Wangchuk, said that thromde has a shortage of garbage trucks. “The thromde has been collecting waste from Tshachhu, Jigmeling Police Training Institute, and powerhouse although these areas do not fall under thromde.”