To manage waste in public areas especially along the highways, all dzongkhags across the country would soon have signboards requesting commuters to not litter the places.

Areas where people gather along the highway such as picnic spots, resting places, viewpoints and where incidences of waste dumping occur are chosen as sites to install the signboards.

The signboards, which measure six by four feet, would contain messages requesting people not to litter, as it is a crime. It would also inform people of four offences and fines according to the waste prevention and management regulation 2012. The most prevalent offences of littering, urinating, car washing and illegal dumping of construction materials are listed.

Punakha dzongkhag’s environment officer Phub Tshering said that although the signboards should be six by four feet, for smaller places, the size of the boards would be reduced to four by three feet.

He said that the dzongkhag administration has chosen about 30 sites between Dochula and Khuruthang town. As some of the sites are nearby, 20 to 25 signboards would be put up along the highway.  “After the signboard sample arrived recently, we have placed the orders for the boards.”

Trashigang dzongdag Chekey Gyeltshen said that the dzongkhag administration has identified eight sites. “All the boards will be put up by today,” he said. “We will identify other places and put up the boards as and when required.”

He said that putting up such signs would not only help maintain a clean environment but also instill a sense of ownership in people.

Paro dzongkhag’s environment officer said that the dzongkhag administration has ordered and finished fabrication of 15 signboards.

The areas were chosen in consultation with the gups. “The boards will be ready and put up in the next 10 days,” the environment officer said.

Paro sees numerous international and regional tourists and keeping the areas clean would help maintain a good image of the country and the district, he said.

The environment officer said that due to the garbage bins beings exposed to animals and flies, animals carrying the waste elsewhere and due to increased number of people dumping waste, waste bins which were there in the past were lifted. “In future we will set up drop in places, and depute people to collect and segregate waste,” he said. “We want to make our community clean and green.”

Punakha dzongkhag’s environment officer Phub Tshering also said that the dzongkhag would not be providing dustbins along the highway. “It is to encourage people to be responsible of their own waste and to encourage people to take their trash and dump it in the designated areas.”

An official from the department of law and order with the home ministry said that after the signboards are put up, respective relevant agencies would monitor and impose the fines.

Karma Cheki