Upper Wangchu turning into a garbage dump

Tons of garbage, enough to fill a few football sized grounds are being dumped into the Wangchu river flowing below Dechencholing town. Also, the direct outflow of sewage into the river has exacerbated the problem.

Garbage tied in plastic bags and sacks, polystyrene food containers, discarded mattresses, broken bottles, human feces, etc., fill the river bank.

To make the matter worse, most residents that do not have proper toilets send sewage directly into the river, which is ultimately used by residents downstream for farming and even washing their laundry at times.

Garbage and sewage from about 60 hotels and shops located along the river, and the households in Dechencholing are dumped into the river bank every day. The waste flows into the river especially when there is a heavy rainfall.

A resident in Dechencholing, Sonam Penjor, said that without a stringent provision for garbage management and monitoring, the residents find themselves in a hapless situation as they do not have a proper connection for sewage disposal.

“Despite increased environmental awareness, people use waterways as a repository for unwanted items,” Sonam Penjor said.

He said that most of the shopkeepers and residents cannot manage the wastes when each day the waste produced at homes get bigger, and the collection trucks fail to come on time.

The residents blamed the irregularity of the garbage truck and absence of the green waste bins like before to contain the waste of multiple residents.

The concerned agencies including National Environment Commission, Thimphu Thomde and other organization have yet to take control of waste management issues in Dechencholing.

Another resident in Dechencholing, Sonam Khatey, said that everyone chooses to dump their waste and do not inform the concerned agencies regarding the waste management problem.

He added that nobody from the relevant organizations are there to monitor the area as importance is given to the core city area only.

“The place is filled with garbage and human feces and everyone breathes in the stinking air coming from the landfill,” Sonam Khatey said.

Many residents of Dechencholing are of the opinion that laws are not being seriously enforced. “It may not deliver results because residents living near that area do not know about the harmful impact of throwing waste into the river,” he added.

And some are hopeful that the relevant agencies will come up with measures to solve the problem before it gets worse. Meanwhile, Thimphu Thromde was unavailable for comment.

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