SUNYA: Residents and students of housing colonies of the National Pension and Provident Fund (NPPF) and College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing are currently practicing methodical waste management as part of SUNYA—Towards Zero Waste project.

The project is being implemented by the Phuenthsoling thromde. Phuentsholing is one of seven cities in South Asia that received European Union (EU) funding. The NPPF and CST activities are two pilot projects under SUNYA.

The EU funded project began in 2012 and funding concluded in December 2014. A total of Nu 4.9 million was provided under the project. The SUNYA project will close on March 15, 2015.

At the final local event held at the thromde office yesterday, officials presented the work done under the EU funded project to important stakeholder group’s participants.

Thromde officials also said the event was aimed at building partnerships with local NGOs, universities, and other organisations for future action plans.

The thromde’s environment officer Kinga Dorji said two bins, with each having a capacity of 180 litres were provided in 18 locations at the NPPF colony. One bin was for biodegradable wastes, while the other for non-biodegradable wastes.

“Awareness has been created to 294 families in the colony,” Kinga Dorji explained. “Demonstrations were shown.”

As per the thromde’s records, the biodegradable bins were able to take out 28kg in a day, while the non-biodegradable bins took out about 16kg of wastes. Paper, carton, pet bottles, and glass bottles were not included as the scrap dealers took them.

Kinga Dorji also presented the activities carried out for CST under SUNYA. A new composting shed has been completed and 112 dustbins were provided.

Fifty pairs of hand gloves and mouth masks were also supplied to the college. A further eight dustbins were also provided for segregation of wastes.

There were some challenges in carrying out the waste management activities, thromde officials said.

“There was bad response from the public,” Kinga Dorji said, explaining that the bins were not used properly.

Officials also pointed the public had to be made aware often.

However, the Phuentsholing thromde Executive Secretary, Tharchen Lhendup, said the pilot projects were doing very well. “Such methods could be used by other municipalities too,” the secretary said.

A senior project officer with ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) Ramiz Khan, who was also at the local event yesterday said Phuentsholing thromde did not have any plans regarding solid waste management in 2012. ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, India is the implementing partner for the EU for this initiative.

“Today it even has master plan for zero waste management alongside plans for solid waste management,” the project officer said.

Although SUNYA will end in March this year, the thromde plans to identify action plans to take such waste management activities further. Thromde officials will also meet with EU representatives in Delhi soon.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing