Bhutan Clean and Green

Published: 2021-09-26 23:10:01
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Category: Recycling, Bhutan

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Whatever Matters!! Green and Clean Bhutan - A possibility 'Keep Thimphu clean and green'- This is a message that many Thimphu residents read again and again. But, are we anywhere close to it? Thimphu is definitely not clean. Litters everywhere. Overflowing drains. 40 tonnes of waste a day is a lot - 85% of the waste being recyclable. Overflowing Memelakha. And no proper waste management system in place. A few ideas flung here and there - whether to employ a private firm to manage the wastes dig another landfill or buy an incinerator (which I don't really agree with). Make a decision and at least do something.
Thimphu is not green either. May be a few roofs (I still remember the TCC's absurd regulation to paint the roofs green). Too few green spaces for people to enjoy. Neither a single energy efficient building (the BTF building in Taba may qualify as one) nor any efforts in this direction. The intra-city transportation system is still unattractive to many people. Too many gas-guzzlers. Proposal for electric trains and trams - I think we need more immediate, effective and simpler solutions. If Thimphu is any indicator, a green and clean Bhutan is definitely a distant, difficult dream.

But we can achieve the dream if we tackle the problems head on. It is time for more action and less rhetoric. There are a few things that can be immediately done - 1. Make Civil Servants the ambassadors of a clean and green Bhutan - Everybody looks up to the civil servants in Bhutan. The Government should initiate the changes from within. Educate the civil servants on waste management and effective use of energy. Let them practice these things at home and in offices. The 17000 strong smart individuals can spread the messages more effectively to the general public. . Green Projects - The Government owns a large number of properties and vehicles. Evaluate if we are making efficient use of our office spaces? Are they energy efficient? Need we build more offices? And do we need many office vehicles? Make new infrastructures more environmentally friendly and energy efficient by using alternative building technologies and designs. The Environmentally Friendly Road Construction projects are some examples. We are building new towns - why cannot new towns like Denchi in Pema-Gatshel be designed as a green town?
3. Encourage the public - During the recent NA session, an MP said 'attitude of people should change first, before leaving it to the concerned agencies to solve the problem'. This is indefensible. The government is the most able of all organizations and should take on the role of educating the public. If one channel of education doesn't work, try another. Encourage people to make/build their homes and offices environmentally friendly and energy efficient. There are many technologies available now. Provide financial incentives and technological assistance to procure them. The National Environment Protection Act 2007 provides for it.
Allocate budget to make the provision 78 in the Act effective so that there is an uptake. We must not fall into the false sense of security that we live harmoniously with our environment and that we are doing enough because we have committed to maintain 60% of forest cover. The problems illustrated above are real and we risk being caught out sooner than later. Greener Way12 April, 2010 - A private firm has beaten the government to initiating a program to collect paper waste. The month-old firm called Greener Way has already collected seven tones of paper waste from various government agencies and schools. Its main objective is to save the environment, provide employment and keep Bhutan clean and green,” the owner of the firm, Kinga Om, said. The waste they collect will be sent to New Delhi, India. “It takes about 15 to 20 days to reach New Delhi through Jaigaon,” she said. Greener Way has sought all the 10 ministries’ help to collect paper waste. Kinga Om, a fresh graduate, said that, so far, most agencies Greener Way has approached have been cooperative and willing to bear the cost of the dustbins each of them would be using. Like any other private firm, Greener way also works seven days a week, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
So far, they have collected paper waste from the ministry of agriculture and forestry services. Rinchen high school, Rinchen Kuenphen primary school and the UNESCO (expand) office. Officiating chief forestry officer (CFO) at the nature conservation division said that they would also follow Greener Way and initiate the same by their ministry. “We’ll continue to support them and encourage such initiatives,” the officiating CFO said. Recycling is done to conserve on consumption of resources, energy and space used in landfills. Reports reveal that 90 percent of paper pulp is made from wood.
Paper production accounts for about 35 percent of felled trees, and represents 1. 2 percent of world’s total economic output. It has been estimated that recycling half the world’s paper would avoid the harvesting of twenty million acres of forestland. The idea struck Kinga Om after four visits for research at Memelakha and finding out that 24 percent of waste is paper. It took about a month to set up their office near the automobile repair centre in Olakha, with help from Thimphu city cooperation (TCC), said Kinga Om. Before, the firm had a temporary junkyard at lower Motithang.
Greener Way plans to set up branch offices in Gelephu, Samdrup jongkhar, Samtse, Thimphu and Chhukha. With the help of the education ministry, schools have been helping too. Rinchen high school was the first school to support in collecting paper waste. Greener Way will also be distributing its dustbins in Thimphu schools and later to rest of the schools in Bhutan within 10 days. Kinga Om has employed four university graduates and seven class XII graduates. “The toughest work is to collect waste from different places,” she said. “We request everyone in and around Bhutan not to throw paper waste but to collect it for us. ”

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