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Managing waste- loosing focus?

Far away from the madding crowd of the capital, at Memelakha, there is much more than the dumped waste that is rotting. The stench is an indication that after decades of planning, we are still grappling with the same problem.
Call it a policy failure or implementation, solid waste management, although recognized long ago, is still haunting us. It be hidden far away from our eyes, but it will come back to haunt us.
The waste generated has increased by 16 metric tonnes everyday- a sign that we have developed, at least in terms of consuming, never-ending consumption, in deed. It was 35 metric tonnes a day two years ago, according to Clean Bhutan. Now we are dealing with 51 metric tonnes- that is six truckloads everyday, assuming that each truck carries eight MT.
If the problem is the cannibal habit of consuming, there is no solution in taking care of the waste we generate. The Thromde is clueless. The problem is as big as the waste mountain, but they are still in the planning process of looking for new ways. Doesn’t this deserve priority over digging and re-digging the road?
When we thought that a solution was found- by segregating waste at the source, we are back to square one. How can authorities allow dumping of dry and wet waste together? After years of advocacy and campaigns to segregate waste at source, many residents have starting doing it. But what is the use if the waste collectors ask you to dump your bottles and tins together with other waste like sanitary pads, baby diapers and others in the same truck?
Collectors reason that they have their own people to segregate. The time spent on segregating what is already segregated could be spent on other useful work.
Waste management will always be a problem in Thimphu. The capital city is expanding, people are pouring in from other districts, as decentralization is not happening. There is no space to dump waste and there is no technology to replace the need for space.
Initiatives are not taking off. The compost pit at Serbithang, after spending millions, is shut. And there is no plan to build a compost plant. Greener Way, which is making headlines for waste management initiatives, is failing. Collection is not regular, timing is not fixed and quite often, angry residents end up throwing waste in the drains and gullies.
There is not much we can do to stop consumerism, as we see. The only solution is to manage properly the waste that is generated. Segregation and recycling is one way. The others had to be treated and turned into something useful, if not all.
Therefore, the waste issue needs immediate priority. There should be budget, without which nothing is impossible. The budget should be utilised properly and not wasted like the compost pit in Serbithang. The government should recognise the priority.
From the amount of waste landing at the already overfilled landfill in Memelakha, waste management needs urgent attention, more than buying Prados, Mitsubishi or Boleros.

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