In 2015, Thimphu Thromde decided to outsource city’s waste collection to Greener Way, a private firm based in Thimphu. And I must admit that it was one of the best decisions that a Bhutanese authority has ever made. Waste management is a serious issue everywhere and Bhutan is no exception. Until Greener Way took over the charge of waste collection in Thimphu, garbage trucks would come by only once a week. Greener Way has doubled the frequency of collection. And now residents segregate dry and organic waste. Greener Way also allows office-goers convenient and agreed time for the collection of waste. Mr. Karma Yonten and his team at Greener Way deserve all our praises.
Now we come to another issue – water. This winter, residents along Babesa-Thimphu Expressway had faced acute shortage of water. In fact there was no water in the tanks and residents had to carry water from far off places. And we expected the situation to improve. But it continued for weeks. We were not provided the reasons as to why we weren’t getting water. House owners had a difficult time talking to and calming their tenants.
And that was when I realized how urgently we need to look for other alternatives of solving this issue. Once again – in my opinion outsourcing is the right thing to do. In times of problems, people have no one and nowhere to complain, especially when the concerned people are those responsible for it. But we can always demand better services from private firms. Those who are unable to deliver the desired services can be fired; can we do that with the authority?
Moreover, I think Municipality has much bigger things to do.
Once water is outsourced, people can expect and demand an undisturbed clean water supply. At the same time, residents will be willing to pay for water. This way, people will also use it responsibly and more judiciously.
Another thing that we must do is clean up our water tanks. I think it is long overdue. I can’t imagine how much dust, sand, and mud must have gathered in those water reservoirs and tanks. How many times do we clean them?
Thimphu Thromde should once again lead other municipalities in the country in this.
By Nawang P. Phuntsho
The writer works in an NGO and lives in Thimphu