Shopkeepers in Thimphu Thromde struggle to adhere to waste segregation regulation

It has been more than a month since the Thimphu Thromde conducted a waste segregation inspection in the core town area and fined individuals. However, residents, especially shop owners, are finding it difficult to adhere to the waste segregation regulation. They said the street vendors and passersby still dump waste without segregating it. 

The last time there was a surprise inspection, 39 individuals were fined Nu 500 each for not segregating waste. There was also an incident where an argument broke out between some residents and the waste collectors during the inspection.

Unsegregated garbage bins outside shops and restaurants are still a common sight in Norzin Lam. It has been more than a month since the inspection but the practice of waste segregation seems like a far-fetched dream.

“We can’t keep the waste bins inside because we don’t have enough space. That’s why we keep the waste bins outside. There are a lot of people who walk by and some just throw whatever waste they have in their hands in the bin.  We can’t even tell them not to do it,” said Gopal Singh Gurung, a restaurant worker

“It is mandatory to keep dustbins outside the shops. And our store is a hardware store, so we don’t produce any wet waste. The only wastes we produce are dry waste. But people from outside and even people who live nearby dump their wet waste in our dustbin. And when Thromde comes on inspections, we are the ones who are fined,” said Rinchen Wangyel, an employee of a hardware store.

“Taking care of your waste is important, whether you are an adult or a kid. Parents should teach their kids these values. It’s not just for us; it’s to keep our city clean,” said Tara, a Salon owner.

But all is not lost for Thromde’s initiative on waste segregation. According to Green Bhutan Service which collects waste from Thimphu’s South Zone, people are becoming more mindful about segregating their waste.

“The situation has gotten a lot better now compared to before. Before, people used to mix their dry and wet wastes, even people who were educated. After repeated reminders, people are starting to segregate their wastes better,” said Dhan Kumar Gurung from the Green Bhutan Service.

And while waste management and segregation remain a daunting task in the country, it’s only with collective responsibility and effort that the country can champion waste management issues.

Karma Samten Wangda

Edited by Sonam Pem

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