Million dollar project to address plastic waste issue in WangChhu

To address the issue of plastic waste pollution in the WangChhu watershed in Thimphu, a project titled, ‘Reimagining Effective Partnerships for Tackling Plastic Waste and River Pollution’ was launched in the capital today coinciding with Global Recycling Day. If successfully implemented, the project will reduce plastic waste from going into the landfills by 80 per cent.

It will not be a surprise to come across plastic wastes being thrown carelessly along roadsides, and in drains if you walk around in Thimphu or any other places.

Several initiatives have been undertaken by the relevant agencies to tackle the growing plastic waste issue including imposing a ban on the use of plastics. But to date, none of it could address the issue largely due to ignorance and lack of awareness among the public.

But this new project which is a collaborative initiative of the Bhutan Ecological Society, Clean Bhutan and Gross International Nature promises to offer s sustainable solution to this longstanding issue.

GIN is a young environmental conservation organisation established by youth from Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal to provide transboundary solutions to environmental problems.

The project aims to raise awareness, build local capacity, implement innovative interventions, foster partnerships, generate knowledge, and empower women in project administration.

The project will operate in eight communities within Thimphu by engaging more than fifteen hundred beneficiaries with a commitment to ensuring at least 30 per cent women participation. The initiative will also extend to Kawang Gewog.

According to the BES, the project holds a significant promise for the country’s environmental goals.

“This project is unique because it not only focuses on establishing clean-up efforts but also involves the local community, particularly emphasising women’s involvement. Additionally, it includes the establishment of a state-of-the-art recycling plant that will produce plastic bricks and pellets, the first of its kind in Bhutan,” said Nedup Tshering, technical advisor of Clean Bhutan.

One of the key components of the project is the installation of the state-of-the-art recycling hub.

The hub with the carrying capacity of 500 kilograms of plastic waste per day will be established in Bjemina in Thimphu and be operational by October this year.

The recycling hub will be equipped with advanced technology to process various types of plastic waste and turn them into bricks and pellets.

According to the BES, this will divert plastic waste from going to landfills and preventing it from flowing into the WangChhu watershed.

The project is expected to divert at least 422 tons of plastic from going to landfills, resulting in the elimination of over 1,266 tons of estimated carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The project worth over a million USD is funded by the World Bank and implemented by the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services.

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