As we shape our new image, we must tackle some of the things that deeply injure Bhutan’s true picture.

Bhutan is pure and clean. That is the picture of Bhutan we want to show to the world. For the people coming from abroad, we still seem to have enough to fill their yearnings—peace, greenery, friendly people, and clean air.

But Bhutan can and must offer much more, not just to the visitors but also positively in the way we live and present ourselves.

Waste is the biggest problem facing the country today. As a country that has been recognised as environment-conscious, the amount of waste fly around is ironic, and, embarrassing.

Very recently, Sarpang’s dzongkhag administration declared December as Zero Waste Month.

 Waste is an issue in Bhutan because of the deeply-seated culture.

Bhutan’s population is small. Considered in the right perspective, more than half of the country’s population lives outside of the growing towns and cities. Why is waste becoming a growing issue still?

Waste is an issue of serious concern because a large number of our people are uneducated. Waste also deserves sober treatment because more than laws, rules, and regulations, we need practical solutions.

The question is: are we ready for a big change?

We are. We have always been. It is the system that has all along been a burden on itself.  How could we not, for example, stop people from smearing walls with lime just because Bhutanese have a penchant for doma?

If smearing lime on the wall is made a crime, shopkeepers and building owners will be more careful to not let such antics run riot. As simple as that! Every individual will be mindful of what they pick and discard.

To address the problem of waste in Bhutan, only fines and penalties will work. We are taking it lightly. Where the waste is, he or she is responsible. So much can only be determined by the kind of penalty or fines we impose. The heavier the fines, the cleaner the towns and cities.

The Waste Management Committee started a door-to-door awareness campaign on waste segregation between Dechencholing and Ngabirongchhu in South Thimphu. The momentum has been losing.

Henceforth, mindless disposal of waste should be considered a serious crime. In the end, it’s about us, our health, and our image.