The ancient world have never faced major threats pertaining to waste management, since the beginning of human history marked insignificant waste generation due to low population density, yet it remains inevitable issue at any circumstance.
|(source: Bhutan observer)|
Now, the waste associated problems are controversial globally as the advancing world generates high amount of waste against its actual carrying capacity. Waste is considered as discarded materials but it can be of more useful if treated properly through various methods of waste management ideologies. In line the technique of gathering, transporting, disposing and monitoring waste materials shall be termed as waste management. This is addressed mainly with the rise in anthropogenic (human) activities to strengthen the environmental ethics and to improve life expectancy. Thus this issue also claims to be a matter of concern in the small kingdom like Bhutan with the effect of modernization; nonetheless the government initiates effective measures towards such challenges.
Perhaps the Bhutanese society is believed to be united under the doctrine of Buddhist philosophy which encouraged villagers particularly to preserve the age-old traditions, however with an evolution of modern era, the majority of ambitious Bhutanese flees towards urban places to avail improved amenities. With increasing population in urban centers, solid waste management tension grows drastically. According to UNEF (United Nation Emergency Force) report (2001), waste is recognized as an emerging problem in the cities of Thimphu and Phuentsholing. More number of people living in the cities generate different level of waste materials which are dumped at no proper place rather they are thrown directly into the water bodies, streets, public places and forest land. This deficiencies in people causes the unlimited challenges. On the other hand, the changing consumption pattern, could also be accounted as supplementary factor that contributes in the generation of waste.
Generally waste is not only of one kind. It subdivides into various categories on the basis of some physical properties such as organically generated waste which includes kitchen waste, sewage and other degradable waste. The organic waste dominates almost 50 percent of the other MSW (municipal solid waste). Followed by the plastic wastes that accounts to 12.73 percent and E-waste (electronic) generation about 0.37 percent of the total MSW (RoGOB, 2007). Then Polythene (plastic) items, papers predominates garbage as main component. Nevertheless the hazardous Radio Active waste is rated very minor, since Bhutan is popular only in terms of hydropower projects and not nuclear power plants. Furthermore the medical and industrial waste are also on the rise.
In contrast, litter dominate streets which include junk food wrappers, especially Maggi and other noodle wrappers. Lacking civic responsibility and carelessness amongst the Bhutanese would invite a major environmental and health hazard in the long run. In addition, the research carried out by CSE (Delhi- based NGO center for Science and Environment) asserts, Maggi and other popular “junk food” contain high amount of salt, sugar and trans-fat that would lead to serious health problem and diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
More over the increasing generation of waste would cause severe degradation of natural biodiversity and activate pathogens wide spreading uncontrollable diseases. Likewise, the Inflow of commodities such as Maggi and other noodle items of low nutritional value but high littering capacity, would only introduce rupee crises, ultimately shackling the country’s economic stability.
Nevertheless, as of now proper landfill processes are practiced in the cities of Thimphu and Phuentsholing, but in some public places the condition still remains unimproved. Landfills is the simplest method of waste disposal where by solid wastes are mainly treated that way. 100% wastes generated from low to medium developing countries and even from the developed countries are following the technique of landfills. The practice of 3Rs (Reuse, Recycle and Reduce) policy can also be an effective method in order to combat the challenges related to solid waste and help maintain clean and green nation. In line, the law enacted by the government such as the waste prevention and management act (2009) and waste prevention and management regulation (2012) would also assist in the reduction of waste to promote and sustain human health and the protection of environment.
On the whole, this issue had been unimportant in those ancient times but it is rather of high priority today. Therefore considering the true facts about the increasing problems related to waste disposal, one must always strive towards better and helpful method in easing such challenges though it can’t be prevented completely. Furthermore the concerned citizens of Bhutan must also intend with noble thoughts to see the future prospective by facing the solid waste challenges of current scenario, where by conserving the pristine state of nature at any times to come.