Challenges to zero tolerance to waste in Thimphu Thromde

Although the Thimphu Thromde initiated the zero tolerance to waste in 2012, backed up by a waste regulation, effective implementation has been fraught with challenges because of continuous construction activity in the city, low awareness among residents and absence of proper facilities.

Despite the challenges, the Thromde has engaged field inspectors to fine those not abiding by waste regulation, installed CCTV inparts of the city to nab illegal waste dumping and regularly educating residents on waste management.

“Unless we provide good services to the public, we won’t have a positive impact,” said Thimphu Thromde’s Environment Division head, Yeshi Wangdi.  “We have been facing lots of challenges to make the initiative successful, especially with people taking advantage of lack of evidence for breaking waste regulations.”

People tend to ask for evidence of them doing illegal dumping or spitting doma on a wall. “We try to take pictures immediately upon seeing a person spitting or throwing waste but that hardly works. However, if we happen to capture, we charge the person with solid proof,” he said

To tackle the evidence issue the Thromde came up with a CCTV initiative. This has helped reduce illegal dumping according to Yeshey Wangdi. CCTVs have been installed in those areas of the city vulnerable to illegal dumping and the cameras are moved around every now and then to different locations.

Yeshey Wangdi said that a survey indicated that proper timing of waste collection could be implemented. People from Babesa and Sarbithang were going to Taba to dump waste as there are no bins in those areas.

Although the frequency of collection was good the timing (9 AM to 5 PM) was not going well as maximum people were office goers and only the old and children were at home. “This somehow leads to illegal dumping,” he said. When people cannot avail the collection service, the garbage is kept outside their homes and dogs rummage and scatter it.

After the survey, Thromde initiated house owners to place two bins in front of their buildings so that office goers can dump their waste in the bin that will be emptied by the collector. But this initiative was appropriate only for those tenants with road accessibility.

The other issue Thromde faces is the mix settlement where there is no separate location for commercial, residence and offices making it complicated to implement specific strategies for waste collection.

To address this issue, they will be implementing different systems for different areas. “We are constructing two concrete bins in different areas where residents can drop their waste,” Yeshey Wangdi said. Greener way will come and collect the waste from the bins As of now, they have five dropping bin centres in Changjiji, Babesa, Langjophakha, NPPF and Greener way.

He also said that, there is a plan to implement evening collection services in the two busiest areas, Norzin Lam and Chang Lam, of Thimphu.

The penalty for not following the waste regulation ranges from Nu.100 to Nu.20,000.

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