Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bhutan - Keeping Thimphu clean, a gargantuan task

Keeping Thimphu clean and beautiful seems like a distant dream, at least for now. Despite several cleanup campaigns and measures put in place by the Thimphu City Corporation, Thimphu city is not getting any cleaner.

The sidewalks and roads are strewn with papers and plastic wrappers, the drains are clogged with plastic bottles, and the walls of shops and buildings are smeared with doma spit and lime.

Phub Dorji, a Thimphu resident, said “most of the goods are wrapped in plastic of paper. People throw away the wrappings carelessly.”

The Thimphu City Corporation has deployed 16 workers to clean the streets. They work the whole daylong, seven days a week to keep the streets clean.

Budhiman Tamang, one of the cleaners, said “I have been cleaning the streets for 25 years now; the garbage only seems to grow. We clean today and tomorrow, there will be even more garbage.”

Chandra Bahadur Darjee has been cleaning the streets for 21 years. “We start work at 6am and continue till 4 pm. The waste doesn’t seem to become less.”

Ten garbage collecting trucks move around the city collecting waste. Gyeltshen Dukpa, the city corporation’s chief environmental officer, believes that the city will remain the same despite their efforts unless the residents assume responsibility and develop civic sense.

Thimphu is the capital. Most of the residents are educated. It is home to the country’s elite but it seems asking them to do their bit is asking too much.

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