The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Thimphu’s waste goes into river, drains

40-50 % of Thimphu’s waste goes into river, drains
30 March 2010
Only 40 to 50 percent of Thimphu’s waste goes to Memelakha landfill site, according to Pema Dorji, Senior Environmental Officer of Thimphu City Corporation (TCC).

The rest of the waste is either dumped into the river or in the drains clogging them and making them overflow. Thimphu generates about 36 to 50 mt of waste a day.

On average, about 20 truckloads or about 20 mt of it goes to Memelakha each day. The environmental officer said that the Memelakha landfill site can be used for another three years.

The landfill was initially started by Thimphu Municipal Corporation in 1994 with capacity of eight to 10 mt of waste a day for eight years. The capacity technically exhausted eight years ago.

Meanwhile, the city corporation is planning to construct another landfill site with scientific design near the existing one.

Until a new site is identified, retaining walls will be constructed and road access to Memelakha will be improved with assistance from ADB.

The environmental officer also said that, in the coming years, they would encourage scrap dealers to collect the waste for recycle and reduce the pressure on the landfill.

“For instance pet bottles would be cut into pieces and sold to India because almost 90 percent of the wastes produced are either re-usable or recyclable,” said the officer.

A pet bottle machine has already been purchased. It will be ready for use by April. Vegetable waste from centenary farmer’s market is taken to the compost pit at Serbithang. The vendors are provided with bins for easy segregation.

According to the officer, though the compost pit is good, it can still be made more efficient by perforating the floor and making space for air circulation.

JICA has provided technical and financial assistance for redesigning the compost pit which will be ready for use by April.

Vegetable and food waste comprise 60 percent of the waste generated in Thimphu, cardboard and paper 20 percent, metals five percent, plastic two percent, building materials one percent, and other waste 12 percent.

By Eshori Gurung
Bhutan Observer

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