English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 20, 2019

State Reserve forests severely polluted

Choni Dema, Punakha
May 28, 2016

State Reserve forests severely pollutedOver 626 acres of state reserve forests in Wangdue Phodrang and Punakha are severely polluted with solid wastes, reveals a survey Wangdue Forest Division had carried out.

The wastes, according to officials, pose serious threats to wildlife due to contamination of air, water, and land.

The survey, carried from 2014-15, found out accumulation of wastes, particularly solid wastes, both within and outside the State Reserved Forest land.

Forestry officials say increasing population and ongoing hydroelectric projects are aggravating wastes problem.

“We do lot of activities to combat waste within the government reserve forest land. We tell applicants, who are applying for forestry clearance, not to dispose waste within the state reserve forest land,” said Wangdue Phodrang’s Assistant Divisional Forestry Officer, Tashi Dendup.

He said they also have a clear cut directives mentioned in the forestry clearance saying applicants cannot dispose waste within the area. “We also conduct regular patrolling.”

The Department of Forest and Park Services is one of the implementing agencies of the Waste Prevention and Management Act, 2009 and Waste Prevention and Management Regulation 2012.

However, officials say implementation remains extremely weak due to non-compliance and lack of public participation.

Lack of financial resources is another factor.

Wangdue Forest Division has proposed financial assistance from hydroelectric projects to carry out waste management advocacy program.

Forestry Officials from now on will penalise people disposing wastes in the forest as per the act.

They will be fined from Nu 1,000-3,000.



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