Tshangchhelu residents in Samdrup Jongkhar grappling with waste issue

As small as Tshangchhelu town in Samdrup Jongkhar may be, it is also grappling with its own waste management issues. The problem is that the town, which has around one thousand residents, does not have a waste disposal site. However, help is on the way. The Gewog office is planning to construct a landfill within the next one year.

Besides the town’s business community, the Gomdar Central School, a hospital and the Gomdar Gewog office are all located in the riverside town.

Without a proper waste disposal site, some residents dump garbage just behind their houses in open areas.

And some burn it by the riverbank.

“Here we don’t have a place to dump waste, so we burn it. If there is a disposal site we would throw it there,” said Tenzin Dema, a resident.

“As we don’t have a proper place to throw waste, for the time being, we collect and burn it. Without a proper disposal site, we are facing lots of problems,” said Kelzang Dawa, another resident.

Some residents like Bhakta Bahadhur Sinchuri take their waste all the way to the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde landfill, which is located more than 70 kilometres away.

Bhakta has been doing this for the last four months.

“It is difficult to manage our waste here as we are not allowed to throw it. So I pile up my waste and take it to Samdrup Jongkhar when I go shopping.”

The Gomdar Gewog office says they identified one area in the past but could not convert it to a waste disposal site since it is located near a water source. However, the office is now looking for another location.

“We could not develop the disposal site because as per rules, such sites cannot be constructed near roads and water sources, so we are looking for a feasible area. We are trying to develop it within the first year of the 13th Five-Year-Plan,” said Karchung, Gomdar Gup.

The district environment sector says they are also advising residents against the illegal dumping of waste. The office says until a proper waste disposal site is identified, residents will have to dump their waste at the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde landfill.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

Edited by Kipchu

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