Paro is hoping to become a waste-free district in the next few years or so. To achieve this, the district’s Waste Management Committee has drafted a by-law to achieve the target. Consultation and familiarization meetings on the draft by-law were held with the district’s local leaders, institutions, and regional offices, recently. It will also be put up in the upcoming Dzongkhag Tshogdu for endorsement.
When the by-law is implemented, it will become mandatory for all the Gewog offices to build a waste drop-off facility in their Gewog. People in Paro town will also be charged a minimum fee while dumping waste in garbage trucks. Similarly, garbage trucks will also be made available after office hours for the convenience of office goers. These are some of the key highlights of the by-law.
The Waste Management Committee, chaired by Paro Dzongda includes officials from the municipal office, Gups and the district environment officer.
Levying of fees while dumping waste is expected to raise some eyebrows, however, authorities say this is to encourage segregation and sustain the implementation of the new system.
Gyelpo Tshering, the Wangchang Gup who is also a member of Paro’s Waste Management Committee says the by-law will encourage people to practise segregation at source and produce less waste going to dump yards. “If we do that, recyclable wastes could go to scrap dealers and degradable ones will go to its designated place. Then, it would not overwhelm the dump yards. Meanwhile, when we execute the by-law it would require some amount of money to function and sustain, for that we thought the fee collection would help.”
People welcomed the initiative but some have reservations regarding the waste-dumping fee.
Dop-Shari’s mangmi Kinley Wangmo expressed that with increasing population in urban Paro, waste issue has been mounting over the years. “In times like this, by-laws or regulations like this would help address the waste issues in our areas because people adhere to such regulations more than to our monitoring routines and advice.”
“The new regulations sound convenient and efficient. However, if people were asked to pay while dumping wastes, this would encourage people dumping waste elsewhere, illegally. This is one of our observations,” said Dawa Penjor, a shopkeeper.
“As of now the dump trucks only come during the daytime on weekdays and that time we go for work. According to the new system, like they said, if they could send trucks to collect wastes after office hours, it would be convenient for us,” said Dawa Dolma, a private employee.
Paro town’s waste issue often cropped up on social media in the past. However, the streets are notably waste free these days. This change came about after the Waste Prevention and Management Act was stringently implemented for the past two months.
Tandin, the officiating environment officer says they imposed fines to over 50 people for violating waste management protocol by visiting the sites physically. “And now we monitor it through zero waste app, through it we have penalized over 25 people for waste related issues. In total we collected fines of over Nu 100,000 in the district. Our intention is not to penalize the people but there are some who don’t adhere to advocacy and warnings, so only through such means people cooperate with us.”
The by-law is to complement the Waste Prevention and Management Act and other existing waste-related regulations.