Protecting environment, a shared responsibility: PM

The government initiated plans and programs on mananging waste and on climate change and carbon neutrality during the fiscal year 2018-19, states the State of the Nation report.

Presenting the report, Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering said the profound policies articulatedby our Monarchs and conscious efforts over the years to realizing them have ensured that our pristine environment stay protected for the benefit of all generations.

Considering the protection of environment as a shared responsibility of all Bhutanese, Dr. Lotay Tshering said, “Each one of us – individuals, organizations and businesses must reflect on whether our actions match the noble intentions of our leaders.”

Concerning the loss of forests due to socio-economic development and mounting waste problem in urban areas, he shared that the government commits toward continuing efforts in preserving the environment.

Additionally, to curb the waste problem, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen launched the National Waste Management Strategy and Zero Waste Hour on June 2 last year, the report states.

The Zero Waste Hour would encourage every citizen to dedicate an hour, on every second day of the month, to cleaning, report states.

While the disasters and geological surprises are inevitable, His Majesty has always bestowed his sympathy and support in times of disasters, report states.

Additionally, it states, His Majesty granted Nu 8.88mn to 1,268 households as Royal semso for crop damages in last one year. The Royal semso was also granted for other disasters amounting to Nu 2.125mn to 324 individuals.

The report also states that the Cyclone Aila in 2009 and earthquakes of 2009 and 2011 has taught the government to collect timely information to intervene in saving lives, properties and mobilizing quick relief support for affected communities.

The European Union Commission granted Euro 3.3m to strengthen the country’s disaster management information system for enhancing search and rescue during disasters, the report states.

Further, the government has also developed the system catering to all vital information required both during pre and post disaster period.

It would help carry out needs assessment for response and relief operations in affected communities and could be used as data or information source.

Moreover, the government has also completed the structural design for National Emergency Operation center (NEOC), while the construction works will begin by the financial year 2019-20.

The NEOC will function as the information nerve center and command and control center for coordination and management of disasters in the country.

For combating climate change and maintaining carbon neutrality, the government has developed a concept note on Bhutan Climate Fund (BCF)BCF would facilitate monetization of Bhutan’s net negative greenhouse gas emissions and carbon offsets from renewable energy, increase the viability of hydropower projects, and fulfill National Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments.

According to the report, the National Adaptation Plan readiness Project is under consideration, and it aims at reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience.

For sustainable use of environment and maintaining ‘inter-generational equity’, the government approved an interim guideline for surface collection and dredging of riverbed materials for export, report added. It would harmonize the contradicting regulations among Department of Geology and Mines, Department of Forests and Park Services and Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited.

To address the growing waste management problem in urban centers, the government has approved a National Waste Management Flagship program under 12th FYP.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu