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Waste disposal: Are we responsible?

This was one of the topics of debate for the NGOP 2009. Sitting there in the corner of the Nazhoen Pelri Hall, I was thinking, “am I responsible?” and the immediate answer that came to my mind was “NO. No I am not responsible. Neither was anyone of us there in the hall”.

If somebody could have checked under my chair then, she/he would have found so many wiz wrappers and used papers. Not only mine but under every chair there. Well why did I throw them under my chair and litter the hall? Because I feel it’s not my responsibility to keep the hall clean. I also happened to have a psycho feeling that if I take care of the waste then somebody will run out of their job. What will the sweepers do then? That’s what we may call “devil-may-care” Bhutanese attitude.

Everyday Thimphu only contributes two metric tones of waste. The Thimphu city corporation (TCC) is disposing this waste in Memelekha. You all must have watched on BBS how the waste is lying on the open ground with stray dogs and animals feeding on the waste. Mosquitoes breed on the waste thereby spreading diseases like malaria which kills quite a number of people every year in Bhutan.

Since plastic (polythene) bags takes 100s of years to degrade and decompose, the government has taken an initiative to address this issue by imposing a ban on the use of plastic but who’s following the rule? People still carry plastic bags in the broad daylight on the streets of Thimphu, oblivious to the ban imposed. This is certainly not an indication of Bhutanese being responsible.

One morning I happened to have reached the Nazhoen Pelri a little before 8 am in the morning and saw the NGOP committee girls cleaning (picking papers) in and around the gate. Who has littered there? It was us. Us! The “leaders of tomorrow”. If the qualified university graduates cannot be responsible, what can we expect from the others like illiterates?

The government is taking initiatives. The introduction of the “waste management and prevention bill” in the parliament is a clear indication. The government is being responsible but it’s the people who are not responsible. Everywhere we go, finds waste dumped in the nearby gutter, bush etc but people do keep their own campus clean. So ultimately everything boils down to the civic sense. We should be responsible ourselves and not expect others to clean our backyard. Also Bhutan has not yet started recycling waste. It’d be better if we can learn to re-cycle our waste..

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