English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 20, 2019

Keeping Thimphu clean, a gargantuan task

May 28, 2011

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.

1 Comment for “Keeping Thimphu clean, a gargantuan task”

  1. Andrea Burke

    Dear BBS,

    I came to your site looking for the April 12th address by the Prime Minister but could not find an English version or transcription. Can you help? Then I saw an article about litter clean-up so I would like to contribute the following comments:

    I noticed that Thimphu and Paro were very littered during my recent visit. Also other areas all around countryside were littered. So much that I felt greatly saddened that a country that advertises it’s natural beauty and wise environmental policies to tourists was so poorly cared for by it’s own citizens and guest workers. One day while driving through Paro I saw young children happily running around. One child was drinking from a plastic coke bottle. After he took the last sip he flung the bottle aside. It landed in the gutter atop of a lot of other rubbish. Another day I went to the river canal behind a cute coffee/cafe and saw so much garbage in the river I lost my appetite to dine ever again in Paro.

    Like so many other tourists, I hiked to the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery. There was much litter along the way, but also metal trash cans every so often (most were overflowing and trash was blowing away). So I started filling my pockets as I walked along. A sweet boy, Tandin, from Thimphu, saw me swopping up pieces of trash and joined my efforts. There was often too much for us to pick-up but we continued getting bits here and there. I was so delighted a youth followed my example. I will forever call this lad the Best Boy of Thimphu. I have his picture if you would like to track him down and honor him.

    Bhutan seem’s like a nation with honorable and caring intentions that are not communicated to or practiced by ordinary citizens.

    My apologies if my observations and comments cause offense. I did enjoy my visit in Bhutan but my memories will forever be scarred by the trash I saw everywhere. Please contact me if I may be of help.

    Andrea Burke

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