In 2003, I was severely ill in the first week I reached Sombaykha Primary School. I wanted to run back home but I was officially four days away from everything familiar to me. I knew I was going to die in the place so new and so remote. Everything about the place made me lonely. It was then that I accidentally broke a thick red ruler in headmaster's office. You won't believe how the scent of pinewood that came from the broken ruler suddenly made my heart race. I took the two broken pieces with me and kept them hear my pillow. From the next morning I felt more alive than ever.
Coming back to Paro and living among the Pine trees is a gift of natural happiness. I know the trees, I grew up with them, I played on their branches and slept under their shade. The scent from the free sends me heart dancing. I am home. But wait, what's under those trees?
We thought an afternoon would be enough but as we dug we discovered that the place was used for ages. The waste was obviously from a hotel- countless wrappers of milk, sugar, biscuit, frozen chicken, wine bottles, broken plates and glasses, carton boxes,... It doesn't require much intelligence to analyse that the former occupant of our office was responsible. This place was earlier a tourist hotel, and evidently a very irresponsible one.
|Tip of Plastic Iceberg|
What we discovered later broke my heart completely. Beyond the pit, cleverly hidden under the pine trees was a secret world of plastic. It was clearly years of intentional and irresponsible dumping of plastic waste, which should be a criminal offence to the nation. It's a wonder how the authorities didn't spot at least the pit that was just below road to Paro Dzong.
The bigger question is, where are other hotels hiding their waste? I have seen a few patches of landfill here and there in Paro. Above Gaptay I have seen a depression in the woods filled with hotel waste, and above that I have seen at least three hotels. It seems to a trend in Paro to hide their waste in the woods. I would therefore like to alert National Environment Commission and Tourism Council of Bhutan to investigate this issue in Paro and perhaps elsewhere in the country.
|Revealing the Hidden|
In Paro the problem must have cropped from the failure of the Dzongkhag Municipal. I assume that they can't possibly assist the hotels in managing their waste when they seem to fail in managing the waste in the middle of the town. The waste collecting trucks are small and manually operated, and the frequency of collection seems very less. The bins placed at prime locations are small even for a single user, and therefore are seen overflowing perpetually. Everything seems so half hearted.
Wherever the problem is there seems to be a serious need of intervention. This beautiful country we are so proud of may soon lose its countless adjectives, and our proud environmental efforts may just turn into myths on paper.