Baseline survey for integrated solid waste management underway

The National Environment Commission (NEC) is developing a Waste Management Strategy which will be ready by the end of this year. For this, a baseline survey is underway in five dzongkhags across the country to analyze the waste situation.

The Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) in collaboration with SKAT consulting Ltd based in Switzerland are conducting Integrated Solid Waste Management baseline survey.

The survey started on April 1 this year. It is covering two thromdes including Thimphu and Phuentsholing, and three municipalities (Mongar, Bumthang and Paro). Survey in two dzongkhags, that is Mongar and Bumthang has ended.

The objective of the study is to assist the NEC in developing a strategy to strengthen the regulatory and organizational framework for integrated waste management with financial assistance from HELVETAS.

The strategy is based on the Waste Prevention and Management Regulation of 2012.

“Because it is a new regulation, NEC finds it appropriate to revisit it and also it is an opportunity to further study the waste situation in the country,” said an official from RSPN adding that the survey would help understand how it can be improved as a management system.

Since the policy framework of the regulation is based on polluter-based principle, it is deemed necessary to understand and study the reaction and the attitude of people.

The Coordinator of Environment, Education and Advocacy Program under RSPN, Ugyen Lhendup said the two thromdes are divided into high-income and middle-income brackets to see what kind of wastes are generated and to collect diverse information. The three municipalities are divided into urban, semi-urban and semi-rural.

The survey is being conducted in two parts – one where people are informed not to dispose waste for a week and the waste is collected, segregated and weighed to record an average of how much a household would generate.

The second part is a questionnaire on behavior, attitude and acceptance. Facilities to take care of wastes are studied. “We cannot just tell people not to litter. It is important to study where, when and how to throw the wastes,” he added.

The challenges so far have been shortage of laborers and vehicles. Although the organization is willing to pay, there are no people to take up the work, as reported from the field.

SKAT is an independent Swiss organization working in the fields of development and humanitarian aid. Since 1978, SKAT has provided technical expertise, management support, and training to bilateral and multilateral development agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

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