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Waste, a problem we can manage

Of late, waste management has picked some momentum. With the recent banning of plastic bags and wrappers, all the more. The challenge is to keep the thrust going. For instance, Trashtag Challenge that began in the country with such uplifting rapidity died a quiet death all of a sudden.

Waste will continue to grow; the real problem is with management. And we are doing badly with it. The many rules and regulations we have concerning management of waste stand testimony to the challenges that this rapidly growing problem is poised to throw in the near future. What has sorely been lacking, however, is the will to turn things around. The fact that shops continue to hand out goods in plastic bags speaks volumes about failure awaiting the new ban of plastic bags and wrappers.

Waste is our shared problem. The lack of action from government agencies has encouraged civil society organisations and private entities to take up waste management. Lack of funds and reliable data on the kinds of waste the country generates affect waste management planning. The problem does not look intractable, though. Waste affects everybody. Why then should controlling or managing waste be left entirely unto the government? We can each individually play our part to minimise waste; because we can, we should.

Early this week, taxi drivers of Gelephu decided that they would join the rest of the nation to control waste. They saw that the many cleaning campaigns and awareness programmes have not helped address the problem of growing waste in the town. In itself, this is not a new idea but giving it a new lease of life is highly appreciated. In the mean time, Trashtag Challenge must be revitalised at every level.

The challenge is about keeping the environment clean and safe, not about getting more likes on social media. If the challenge is sustained for some more time, our waste generation will have become considerably less. Managing waste then will be easy. There is a need to go all-out to control waste. While we expect the government agencies to implement rules, let us each individually do our best to minimise and manage waste.

Waste is a problem that we can very much manage.

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