People residing in Thimphu alone generate about 50 tons of household waste per day and government is spending about Nu 30 mn annually just to collect and dispose the household waste in the Memelakha Landfill site in Thimphu.
Executive Secretary, Thimphu District Municipality (TDM), Minjur Dorji said that if the waste fills up the landfill, emptying the landfill is not an option. However, people can reduce the amount of waste going directly to the landfill site in order to improve the capacity of the landfill said the secretary. Works are already being carried out for reducing the amount of waste going directly into the landfill.
He said that TDM has constructed a transfer station, where TDM can reduce the waste volume taken to landfill by segregating reusable and recycle materials by TDM workers. The workers also take organic waste from parts of the Thromde to compost it and convert it into organic fertilizer.
He said to segregate the waste of the households like organic waste, TDM has provided households different types of dust bins.
He said that if the leachate water gets into soil, it contaminates ground water but it also depends upon the permeability of the soils and the location of the ground water. To address the leakage of leachate into soil, TDM has constructed a leachate collection tank.
He said that it depends on the way landfill is managed but plastic and other non biodegradable materials at the land fill effect the surrounding environment.
He said “As of now we can only conduct awareness and it depends upon individuals how to reduce the waste moving directly into landfill site.”
The land fill in Memelakha covers 3.41 acres of land. Currently TDM has 17 waste collection vehicles carrying waste to the Memelakha landfill site.
Memelakha landfill was started in the year 1994 and it was designed to last only for eight years. The lower part of Memelakha landfill will be expanded and it will have a capacity for 10 year as the present landfill has a capacity to be use for another three years only.