Towards Zero Waste Bhutan by 2030
By Phurpa Wangmo
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Friday graced an event to inaugurate Waste Management Facilities in Thimphu. The event was held at one of nine new facilities, in Dangrina.
A press statement from the Royal Office for Media (RoM) stated the event is a step in the government’s Waste Management Flagship Program to achieve Zero Waste Bhutan by 2030, which is, through effective source segregation, to have maximum material recovery with only the absolute waste of approximately 20% requiring safe disposal.
“The flagship program is introducing waste segregation, collection, transportation, treatment, recovery, and disposal facilities throughout the country in a phased manner starting with Thimphu,” it said.
The first phase launched this week was the inauguration of nine Drop-off Centres, nine electric waste collection vehicles, twenty-five Waste Collection Facilities for Thimphu and a website for Zero Waste Bhutan. Other amenities such as Material Recovery Facilities, wet waste management technologies, sanitary landfills, recycling plants and specialised waste treatment facilities are being designed and built through the flagship program.
The electric waste collection utility vehicles will be used to ensure access into the narrow streets and corners of the capital, which existing waste collection vehicles are unable to reach, all the while ensuring emission reduction.
“The Drop-off Centres and Waste Collection Facilities was conceived to provide residents the convenience to drop off waste at any time of the day. The facilities are aimed at also encouraging residents to undertake proper waste segregation and disposal,” the press release further stated.
Further, the launch of the Zero Waste Bhutan website is to facilitate the dissemination of information of the facilities, the collection timing and the ongoing waste flagship activities.
According to the National Environment Commission, which is the implementing agency for the Program, parallel behavioural change activities and existing regulations on waste prevention and management will be enforced to complement the establishment of the waste management infrastructure. Efforts are underway to encourage understanding of waste as an important sector that unveils opportunities for livelihood along the process.
His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen have expressed deep concerns on waste management as a growing problem especially for urban centres in Bhutan, and have encouraged all relevant agencies as well as the people of Bhutan, to work towards addressing these issues effectively.
With the Royal Command that the effective management of waste contributes to nation building, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, as the Patron of the Environment, continues to support national initiatives and efforts in line with this vision.
The flagship program will introduce waste segregation, collection, transportation, treatment, recovery, and disposal facilities throughout the country in a phased manner starting with Thimphu.
NEC officials said the electric waste collection utility vehicles will be used to ensure access into the narrow streets and corners of the capital, which existing waste collection vehicles are unable to reach, all the while ensuring emission reduction.
During the event, electric waste collection vehicles for the Thimphu Thromde, 25 waste collection facilities for the gewogs in Thimphu and a website for Zero Waste Bhutan were also launched.
Ugyen Dorji, the Thimphu Thrompon said that until now waste collection timing has been big issue for the Thromde residents. He said when the collection vehicles can’t make it on time, people drop their wastes everywhere.
The initiative is a part of the Waste Management Flagship Programme to make Bhutan a waste free society by 2030.
The event was attended by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister in his capacity as the Chairperson of the NEC, and other stakeholders.