Kelzang Wangchuk | Jomotshangkha

Without waste collection facilities and a landfill, residents of Jomotshangkha town in Samdrupjongkhar have to dump their waste near their shops and in their backyards.

The town is now filled with waste in every corner, starting from the border gate to the end of the town.

A resident, Kinzang Choden, 45, said that it’s challenging for them to manage waste, as there is no identified place to dump it. “Dogs scatter the waste around.”

She said that at the moment, they decompose the wet waste and burn the dry waste such as plastics and papers.

Another resident, Kinzang Pelden, 52, said wet waste stinks and affects their business. “We are worried about our health too.”

She said the drungkhag tractor used to collect the waste before, but it has now stopped. “The authorities should identify a landfill and provide vehicles at least once a month.”

Residents said they used to throw the waste in concrete pits constructed by the drungkhag administration, but the pits were now damaged, as there was no one to take care of them.

Most of the residents in the town now dump their waste in a concrete pit near the public ground.

A resident, Zangmo, said she cautioned people from dumping their waste there, as the pit is damaged. “It would help if concerned authorities could advise people, as we cannot even stay at home because of the stench.”

Jomotshangkha drungpa, Lamdra Wangdi, said the drungkhag administration had identified the location for a landfill and completed the design. “We have proposed for a budget every fiscal year, but have been rejected.”

He said the drungkhag administration told the residents in the town to manage the waste themselves.

The drungpa said they carry out cleaning campaigns in the town frequently, and the municipal tractor also collects waste. “There is no other option than to keep it around the houses, as there is no budget for the landfill construction.”

He said the drungkhag would propose the budget for the landfill in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

Edited by Tashi Dema