Staff Report from the Dump Site Cleaning

 19/10/2015

Introduction

The Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde is one of Bhutan’s four Class (A) Thromdes and stretches from Dewathang to the India-Bhutan gateway in the south, sharing its border with the Indian state of Assam. Dewathang with an approximate population of 3500 is located 18 kilometers away from the central location of the Thromde administration. At present the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde has one landfill in Samdrup Jongkhar town, while Dewathang is yet to have one. For the last four years, the waste  of Dewathang has been taken to the Lamsorong Dump site which is 3 kilometers away from Dewathang,  below the Samdrup Jongkhar - Trashigang highway. Very recently the Thromde administration stopped the dumping of waste at Lamsorong and has diverted it to the landfill in Samdrup Jongkhar. 

 

Objectives of the Dump Site cleanup day:

  1. To mark the closing day of the Lamsorong dump site;
  2. To protect environment and the Dewri river before leachate contaminates the water;
  3. Cleaning and restoring the dump site ;
  4. Bringing the community together to serve common goals.

Dump site

How does open dumping affect the environment? Chemicals and othercontaminants found in solid waste can seep into our groundwater and can also be carried by rainwater to rivers and lakes that provide essential wildlife habitat. These contaminants can also end up in our rivers and lakes that are our sources for drinking water. The Dewri river passes below the dumpsite, so waste from the dump site has already ended up in the river, thus extending environmental and health risks to the communities living downstream who use the water for domestic and agricultural purposes. Due to its location on the highway, the site was also being used to dump waste by travelers. 

Action for change

To mark the closing of the dump site, the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde in collaboration with the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI) organized a day long cleanup on 27September 2015. People from the community shouldered their responsibility in addressing the issue by participating enthusiastically. It was a great honour to see Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche  personally setting the best example with his monks from CGI taking active part in the clean up.

The day-long cleanup of the dump site also had other beneficial effects: the community came together and discussed the pressing issues of waste, which in turn served as a platform for creating collective awareness and cooperation. The event helped participants to understand the impact of waste on the environment, and thus to strengthen their determination to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.

      List of participants

  1. CGI - Shedra lead by Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche; 
  2. Royal Bhutan Army;
  3. Dewathang Hospital led by Dr. Tshering Norbu;
  4. Jigme Namgyel Polytechnic; 
  5. Desups and teachers from Garpawoong and Samdrup Jongkhar;
  6. SJ Thromde staff led by the Executive Secretary and Environment Officer;
  7. Royal Bhutan Police (traffic control);
  8. Farmers and residents from Dewathang; and
  9. The whole SJI staff led by its Executive Director.

                                       Resources used

 

  1. Health officials from Dewathang Military    Hospital
  2. Coordination and organization by SJI
  3. Traffic control personnel - RBP S/J
  4. Tractors - Thromde
  5.  Dump trucks - Thromde
  6. SJI office pool vehicle
  7. Thromde office pool vehicle
  8. Lunch provided by Dewathang shopkeepers and CGI shedra
  9. Refreshments provided by Thromde
  10. Sign board provided by Thromde
  11. Hand gloves and sacks provided by Thromde
  12. Volunteers - 212
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composition of waste retrieved from the dump site

SN

Waste Composition

% to total waste

1

Plastic items

50

2

PET bottles

10

3

Cloth, shoes and slippers

10

4

Glass

20

5

Tins

5

6

Cardboard and paper

5

 

Total waste collected

  70 tonnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because the cleanup could not be completed on a single day, SJI has undertaken to continue this cleanup initiative once a month with assistance from local volunteers and the Thromde until all waste is removed from the site. SJI wishes to thank the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde and all participating volunteers for their valuable role in this important initiative.