Waste segregation has a tough ride

Four months ago, the Environment Division under Thimphu Thromde started distributing two different colored garbage bins to building owners

and offices located in Chubachu.  The white one is for recyclable waste like plastics and bottles while the green one is for organic or degradable wastes such as food and vegetables.

However, senior Environment Officer, Thimphu Thromde (TT), Tamiki Nagashima, who was the brain behind the project, said that only 40% of people using the bins do so properly.

That means 60% of them still have to learn how to segregate waste.

Each pair of bins was bought from Bangkok at a price of Nu.2,700 but according to the Project support Officer of Thimphu Municipality, “only a few building owners cooperate and have started segregating the degradable and non-degradable waste”.

TT sends out two trucks everyday to collect waste from  door to door. Once the waste is collected it is taken to Memelakha  refill area, about 15 kms from the city.

Even if the Thimphu residents have still a long way to go in honing up their waste dumping culture, due to the waste segregation done by a responsible few, the work load has gone down for those who are working at the dumping site.

However, a major concern that bogs the work force at Memelekha, according to Tamiki Nagashima, is the segregation of medical waste from the hospital. “We asked the hospital officials to segregate their waste,” he said, adding that used needles, dirty bandages, and waste from the labor rooms are all thrown into the same bin. Due to such mismanagement, there was an incident when a needle thrown by the hospital pierced the hands of one of his workers.

“Within a minute his hand became double the actual size,” he said.

TT has now handed over the responsibility of collecting segregated waste from Chubachu to a private waste segregation and recycling unit, ReCITI (Re Civic Time), located at Olakha. Meanwhile, the Senior Environment Officer says,  the corporation is now planning to distribute the bins along  Norzin lam, the lower market  and the housing area at Changjiji.

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