The founder of BTO Passang Tshering with the Executive Director of CBO Nedup Tshering

Building-up respect for toilets and the environment during National Day

Bhutan Toilet Organization (BTO) and Clean Bhutan Organization (CBO) have been making their unfailing presence in many national and local events to provide a solution to the compelling nature’s call and to collect trash arising from the insensitivity or ignorance of the perpetrators.

The two registered Civil Society Organizations have been coming up with various strategic means to deliver their services and expand their outreach in every corners of the country. Bhutan Toilet Organization’s additional bright feather in cap among many others is the realization of its dream project, ‘The National Portable Toilet Fleet,’ which was launched in Haa during the 110th National Day on 17th December last week.

“The project has been our top priority and we felt from the beginning that if we have portable toilets then our problems would be solved. In all the venues, they just have around ten units of toilet at the most which is not enough to serve the thousands of people. The concerned agencies spent huge resources in building makeshift toilets just for the particular event, so in such cases to reduce huge wastage of money and resources, portable toilets is the option,” said Passang Tshering, the founder of the Bhutan Toilet Organization who is also popularly known Chablop Passu.

The founder said that it was the also the perfect time to launch the portable toilets this National Day to celebrate his National Order of Gold medal granted by His Majesty The King last year on the National Day. “So its the one year anniversary, and I wanted to do something special to mark the faith bestowed upon us.”

The project kick-started with 20 portable units and Passang Tshering said that these existing structures will help in experimenting and studying the functioning of the units. “We’ve already figured out the requirement of a sewer suction truck for the structures to get rid of the waste and challenges faced in the transportation aspects, whereby one Eicher truck can carry only three portable toilets. And since the flush system is new, which would require foot pump we are yet to educate the public on the matter. So as we do more events, I think we’ll get more used to it.”

The National Portable Toilets will be available for any events organized by the government without any charges but the government agency will have to share the basic logistic costs. The program is BTO’s key sustainability strategy whereby the private firms or organizers will be charged for hiring their service to ensure long run in the business. The 20 portable units have been procured with the support from the government and the management hopes to increase the structures over the time to cater to the needs of the whole country.

“The portable toilet will also maintain the standard of sanitation and replace the sub-standard toilets improvised out of rugged tarpaulin sheets or clothes. And the way people manage the available toilet is also a big issue. With the portable toilets, such trends should change and the attitude of people towards toilet will also change. We’ve noticed that people are more respectful towards clean and standard toilets, so we want to build respect for toilets in the country,” said the founder.

Passang Tshering said that although BTO enjoys huge amount of goodwill from the public, the NGO however is limited from bringing new innovative ideas to life because of budget constraints. The individuals and private entities coming forward to render financial assistance has only been handful. “I feel that we need not look for foreign donors to solve our own toilet issues all the time. We should be able to solve such problems on our own.”

In another accomplishment, Tourism Council of Bhutan has handed over the newly constructed toilet near Tamchokha Lhakhang in Paro to the Bhutan Toilet Organization. The official opening of the toilet will be done in the presence of the representatives from ABTO, TCB, GAB and BTO. “It is specifically meant for the tourist where all the modern infrastructures like urinal, tap and hand dryer sensors are installed in place. It is so far the best toilet and we will take care of it ourselves and run it as a model toilet for all the other upcoming toilet facilities along the highway,” said Passang.

Starting from next year BTO is also planning to encourage BTO club in the central schools in consultation with the relevant stakeholders whereby the club members will ensure that the school toilets are up to the standard. BTO has also been approached by those construction companies who are into tunneling to provide their portable toilet services under the tunnels for the convenience of the workers.

“Our ultimate goal is not to go around cleaning the toilets all the time, we want to further our works and become the toilet auditing body that will ensure that the national sanitation policy is implemented properly.

Clean Bhutan Organization

The data maintained by the Clean Bhutan Organization on the mass cleaning campaign carried out on the 9th December showed that 40 metric tons of waste was collected from in and around the capital. In total, 736.099metric tons of waste were collected from around the country on the  9th December.

Clean Bhutan was also active along with BTO during the 110th National Day to keep Haa clean and spread awareness on maintaining cleanliness.

“The waste collected this year is much lesser than last year. So in this case two conclusions can be conjectured from such results. First, we can assume that the mass cleaning was not carried out on a large scale as last year, or the other that the really was reduction in the waste. But as far as I’m concerned, we have tried to do cover all the areas requiring cleaning,” said Nedup Tshering, the Executive Director of CBO.

Nedup Tshering said that one of the main challenges faced by the organization is on advocating to the youths on the importance of waste management. “Most of our youths, listen to what we are trying to advocate but are very poor in the implementation of such awareness. So that’s quite challenging for us.”

Clean Bhutan has also been focusing their awareness on the students from Paro and Samtse College of Education, who will go on to become the educators of the youths. Another observation made by the organization is on the litters around the Taktshang trails. “Earlier we have been blaming the regional tourist on the litters along the Taktshang trails but the Clean Bhutan staffs stationed there observed that it was the locals and not the people from outside who are responsible for the waste,” said Nedup.

“If we put price tags on the waste, people are willing to come forward to collect waste and make something out of it. It was quite surprising when three women in Haa approached me to give training on plastic bag weaving after I briefly mentioned about such creative arts only once during one of the awareness program ,” said Nedup.

Nedup Tshering also added that trainers from Clean Bhutan will start training the interested women in Haa from February next year to weave artistic materials out of plastic which will not only help in reducing waste but also help them earn some money.

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