The sheer amount of plastic and other waste generated at home is enough to put most people off the mammoth task of waste management.
But for the past three months, young entrepreneur and the founder of Evergreen Bhutan Tshering Dorji with social worker Kezang Dorji has been working to establish the culture of segregating waste in Trashiyangtse.
“There is no waste segregation in Trashiyangtse. That’s why our project’s main objective is to establish the culture of segregating waste in the dzongkhag,” said Tshering Dorji.
The project was piloted in Trashiyangtse town and Baylling central school from September end last year with an educative program for students and residents of Trashiyangtse town. During the session participants were sensitized on existing waste related rules in the country.
Students and residents of Trashiyangtse town were taught the importance of segregating waste. Waste segregation was demonstrated practically.
A workshop was organized for students to train them to create arts and useful products out of waste.
Vice Principal of Baylling Central School Choki Dorji said that he found the sustainable waste management program very useful and is optimistic that the students will learn the value of managing waste and using it creatively in the school.
It all started in May 2017, when Tshering Dorji and Kezang Dorji took part in the Leaders Advancing Democracy Alliance 2017(LEAD) held at the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. Their project idea on sustainable waste management was one of the three projects to win a grant of US$ 3,700 at the summit.
According to Tshering Dorji, compared to neighboring countries, waste management system in the country is poor but through advocacy, training and encouraging youth to work in this field, he believes that the issue can be resolved.
Tshering Dorji said that segregating waste is a basic thing but still in remote places, people do not know about degradable and non-degradable waste.
“Some did not even know that non-degradable could be recycled or sold,” he said.
Through the project, sacks and plastic waste bins were distributed to residents of Trashiyangtse town and the school to store non-degradable waste and degradable waste respectively. This was done to encourage people to segregate waste.
For three months, Evergreen Bhutan bought non-degradable waste from the residents and the school every week.
Kezang Dorji said that because of the project, most of the residents of the town have developed the habit of segregating waste.
Although the project support ended on December 29, Evergreen Bhutan, a social enterprise in Doksum, Trashiyangtse that collects recyclable waste and exports it to India, is still working on waste management and continues its weekly collection in Trashiyangtse
“We have plans to start similar projects in other districts where they can make a difference,” said Kezang Dorji.
Pema Seldon from Thimphu