It has been almost three months since the National Environment Commission (NEC) Secretariat successfully implemented its strategy to reward informants who report to NEC on illegal waste dumping. The informant receives 50% of the penalty amount collected from the offender.
Talking to NEC’s Chief Environ-ment Officer, Thinley Dorji, he said the practice of dumping of construction wastes in undesignated places is rampant.
“To monitor for 24 hours is not possible. What we did was, we wrote to the Cabinet and the proposal was approved to reward the informant of illegal waste dumping. We requested the general public saying anyone who finds dumping of construction waste, excavated waste on the roadside and dumping waste illegally everywhere, we impose the penalty as per the Waste Act and Regulations and 50% of the penalty imposed will be given to the informant as an incentive.”
As per the Waste Prevention Management Regulation 2012, the offence mentioned in relation to littering and illegal dumping of the waste, as in Annexure VII, under Section 150.10, states, “Dumping of construction waste including excavated materials and structural demolition waste in places other than designated sites,” an offender will be levied a penalty amount of Nu 9,000 per instance.
It is reported that illegal waste dumping usually happens during off-hours, late nights or in the eve-ning or early morning hours. Thin-ley Dorji said the tipper trucks make it easy for people to dump the wastes easily as the truck can be unloaded very quickly.
Such practices have been spotted in areas like Taba, Khasadrapchu, near Thimphu gate and even near YHS road, vegetable market area and below the Changjiji Bridge. Due to the prevalence of such illegal practices, NEC came up with the incentive strategy for the informants.
So far, 3 such cases were reported In Thimphu alone where the of-fenders were charged and made to pay the fines, and 50% incentives were also paid to the informants. There were also 2 cases reported by informers through phone call but without vehicle numbers. Thimphu sees most frequent occurrences of dumping of construction waste, the wastes include bricks, cements, sacks, and so on.
“Through the Clean Thimphu project, we have started this with Thimphu because illegal waste dumping was still seen everywhere, even after the launch of project, so we have started with Thimphu and it’s proving to be successful in making people aware that throwing this kind of thing is illegal and they will be caught and penalized,” NEC’s Chief Environment Officer said.
He said the strategy will be replicated in other dzongkhags as well. So far, it has covered Punakha, Chhukha, Samdrup Jongkhar, Trongsa and Thimphu and the remaining 15 dzongkhags is due to be covered by end of this year. NEC is working with Department of Roads, Thimphu Thromde, Thimphu Dzongkhag and Department of Forest to expedite its effort and reach.
Meanwhile, the challenge still lies as illegal waste dumping is usually carried out during midnight to wee hours in the morning when most people are asleep. NEC’s proposal on rewarding the informant states, “It is put forth strongly by the stakeholder so as to engage the general public in assisting the regulatory authorities that would ultimately lead to attaining a clean and waste free society as envisaged by the Honorable Prime Minister.”