Neten Dorji | Khaling

In the lush, green hills of Khaling, Trashigang, there’s a growing problem. Piles of garbage are accumulating outside homes and businesses, causing environmental hazards and health concerns for residents.

“We’re struggling to manage our waste,” said one local resident, standing next to a heap of trash on the side of the road. “It’s getting worse every day.”

The problem, residents say, is due to collection delays. The garbage trucks are supposed to come regularly to collect waste, but there have been missed collection schedules, leaving litters on the streets and outside homes.

“Inconsistent waste-collection timing has led the residents to dispose  their waste elsewhere,” explained a civil servant. “It’s a real challenge.”

Shopkeepers and business owners have been piling waste outside their shops for weeks, with no relief in sight.

“It’s affecting my business,” complained Pema Choden, a restaurant owner. “No one wants to come to a place that’s full of garbage.”

The garbage problem in Khaling is not a new one. Poor waste management in households and tardy waste collection have long been cited as the root of the issue.

And while Wamrong dungkhag officials are aware of the piling waste in Khaling, they’ve delayed sending a waste truck for collection.

Why? Officials say they’re presently extending the landfill, which will allow for better waste management in the future. In the meantime, residents are left to deal with the mess.

Drungpa Tashi Tenzin has asked for people’s cooperation for two to three more weeks until they complete the work at the landfill. Once the expansion is complete, they say they’ll dispatch a garbage truck for waste collection.

In the meantime, the dungkhag is trying to encourage residents to take better care of their wastes. They’ve declared a “Zero Waste Hour” every month and are distributing dustbins to help with waste segregation.

But for residents of Khaling, the garbage problem is a daily struggle.

“We have to live with this,” sighed one local resident. “But we’re hoping for a solution soon.”