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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Nu 55M for hospitality and entertainment?

Former cabinet ministers, National Assembly Speaker, National Council chairperson, Opposition Leader and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court spent Nu 55.01 million (M) on hospitality and entertainment (HE) in a year. This was found out while auditing the HE expenses from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The expenditure excludes the …

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The economics of waste

The country’s economy is not only vulnerable to shocks but is also waste intensive. Between 2014 and 2017, the country’s nominal GDP grew by almost 12 percent. While this growth may have translated in production and job creation, it has also triggered a 50 percent increase in the volume of …

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The trashy issue

Waste is not a problem in Bhutan. Its management is. The revival of the limited plastic ban has brought to the fore a debate on not just plastic but on the issue of waste and its mismanagement the country is today buckling under. Bhutan was lauded for taking a courageous …

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Waste encroaching agriculture land

A new problem: Farmers are seeing waste in their fields

Fresh and cool, it begins from the foothills of Dochula, the water that farmers of Lobesa use for irrigation. It forms the Toebi Rongchu (stream) as it flows by the Toebsi gewog.  At Chasagang, about seven kilometres from Lobesa, it is diverted. Two channels take the water to about a …

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Four decades in trash business

Kezang Norbu

In 1976, Kezang Norbu took a decision that his friends that time thought was dirty. He opened a small waste shop and started collecting waste in Thimphu to sell it to India. He was 37 years old. At 80, Kezang Norbu is still in the business. He didn’t keep count …

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Plastic ban confusing people, says minister 

While the ban on the plastic carry bags, doma wrappers, and ice cream pouches take effect from April 1, there is already confusion in major urban areas, the finance minister said yesterday. Finance minister Namgay Tshering said the government has received complaints from certain individuals in Phuentsholing claiming that once …

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Demystifying Community Information Centres

Introduction Our policy-makers are in a state of confusion about the community information centres (CICs). This has led them to take capricious and often comical decisions even in the Parliament. The point of contention revolves mainly around the ambiguity of the ownership and management of these centres. According to recent …

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Waste in the name of religion?

The year of the Pig is not good for Ugyen. The astrologer asked him to conduct a rimdo. One rimdo required him to discard his old clothes, utensils, crockeries and many more. The location chosen was a busy crossroad. An environmentalist by heart, Ugyen was in a dilemma when it …

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A school without dustbins

Dustbin free campus of CMSS

When it comes to waste, what comes to Changangkha Middle Secondary School goes back. With a zero waste policy, the school enjoys an environment that many schools could envy. There is no dustbin in the school because students do not generate waste. Pencil shavings, exhausted pen refills, half eaten apples …

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“We are the sweepers of Thimphu city”

Scraps at the junkyard in Olakha

Secluded by a long line of bamboo fencing below the Olakha bridge on the Thimphu-Babesa expressway is a scrap dealers’ hub. The Olarongchu flows by the clustered huts made from old metal sheets. Patches of fresh grasses and new shoots of willow trees indicate the coming of spring. A few …

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Whence the waste problem?

Picture this: The year is 2027. Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and the biggest city is growing fast and expanding rapidly. The city’s population of little more than 100,000 has more than doubled and, with it, urban poverty aggravated by rising unemployment and lack of affordable housing. Failure to manage urban growth …

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Medical waste on the rise

It is 8am. Krishna Kumar Gurung switches on the geyser connected to the autoclave machine. He started working at the national referral hospital in Thimphu as a ward boy 29-years ago. His routine has not changed much. The 51-year-old wears the gloves, an apron and a facemask and gets ready to …

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