When Thimphu Thromde first outsourced garbage collection to Greener Way in central and south Thimphu, better services and cost saving were expected.
While the Thromde may be saving cost there have been numerous complaints from the residents of central and south Thimphu on the erratic and often late timing of the waste collection trucks.
Due to an awry schedule residents in Thimphu have started throwing their waste along the road sides and some undesirable places. Even waste meant for the trucks are falling prey to stray dogs who tear open the waste bags and further dirty the place.
Pema, the owner of a restaurant in South Thimphu said that, sometimes it is really frustrating that the trucks don’t come on time. “We had to pile up the garbage for a week which not only created a mess at home but also makes it prone to diseases”, she said. She added that no matter for how long they had to pile up the waste they never left the waste along the road side.
Dorji Wangchuk, Chief Operations Officer of Greener Way said that, with regard to the waste collecting system, he does accept that there is delay in service as compared to previous systems of collections and timings.
At present, the collection is done till 6 pm in the evening and sometimes even till 8 pm if there is any breakdown in the vehicles.
“The main problem of delay is due to shortages of vehicles and the Japanese compactors are very complicated”, he said.
He said that, out of 13 vehicles, eleven are compactors and two are dumpsters which simply carry the dumpsters. Out of 11 compactors, two are not functioning since the beginning of the year.
“It is difficult to purchase the spare parts of such vehicles since we have to purchase from Bangladesh, Japan or other third countries”, he added.
They also have introduced evening service mainly to make the service more convenient for the office goers. The new service was put in place in March this year after studying the issue for two months (January and February).
The office goers just have to register through email, make a call or they can drop by office so that Greener Way can collect the garbage at their convenience.
Once the registration is done, they will be provided with a card where the household needs to issue the date of collection and preferred time within a certain range.
However, he said, “I would suggest people not to leave the garbage along the road side”, adding that, leaving the garbage on the road side is an avoidable practice.
He said instead of leaving the garbage along the road side they can even drop their waste to a Greener Way center below Kelki Higher Secondary School at any time between 9am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday.
He said, “So far it has been quite a successful since 90 percent of the general households have been supporting us in proper segregation but the 20 percent are defaulters who dispose the waste along the roadside at night.”
“We have recorded and we are trying to contact those defaulters to know if they are facing any disposal problems where we can solve the problem jointly”, he added.
Greener Way found out that mixed waste are mostly collected from Norzin Lam and Chang Lam which seems to be difficult to manage unlike other areas. “The waste are already segregated in other areas, so we don’t face much problems”, he said.
But in-order to address the problem they will start working soon. He said, “There are so many things to do, this is just a start.”
Out of eleven zones, “Changjiji and Olakha is the most difficult place to work with”, Dorji Wangchuk said.
They even started a new initiative which failed due to improper management. At Changjiji, they started a private project where two bins are distributed each, whereby they have to dispose the waste according to the colors of the bin.
Initially people practiced it but later due to improper monitoring, people landed up dumping mixed wastes in bins and also people living in other areas like Olakha, Babesa, Changdebsi and even people belonging to the other zones started disposing there waste in Changjiji since more number of bins were found.
“But now in-order to avoid the mess the bins are being removed from Changjiji”, he said.
In case of Olakha, he said that the problem is mainly found in workshop area where lots of automobile wastes are produced which is different from dry and wet waste. Unlike the other places, the frequency is three times in the workshop area.
The ongoing project is on the transformation of dry waste to improvised segregation. They want to even further segregate the dry waste since the waste like baby diapers and napkins are also included in dry waste. They are also looking for collection systems for glass and meat waste.
He said, “the central and south zone, which is monitored by greener way have eleven zones and each zone having a subzone of two numbers would take nearly six hours even if the minimum amount of time is spent in each stop.”
He said that, they are removing the dumpsters because it is encouraging people to bring mixed waste without segregation.