Sunday, January 26, 2020

Waste management awareness onboard public buses

On the morning of 28th December 2019, I was pleasantly surprised when the driver of the bus I was travelling in from Thimphu to Phuentsholing played the onboard announcement that requested the passengers to take care of their own wastes during the journey. The public announcement which was recorded in three languages: Dzongkha, Sharchhop and Lhotshamkha talked about the importance of maintaining pristine environment and advised the passengers to make use of the garbage bin that was placed on the aisle. We were warned that we may be subject to penalties as per the relevant laws and policies if we are ever caught throwing our wastes outside the designated areas.

I am very happy to know that our public buses are taking such initiatives to educate their passengers on waste management and remind them of their social responsibility as the citizens of one of the world’s cleanest countries. I know that during long journeys, people usually throw their chocolate/doma wrappers, chips-packages, PET bottles and other non-degradable wastes right through their windows, not realizing that they would take thousands of years to decay. As a child, even I have done it because there was nobody to tell me that it was wrong. Now that I have become more conscious about my environment, I am always trying my best to make sure that my wastes are dumped into the designated garbage bins no matter where I am. I always believe that if all of us could take care of our own wastes, we could definitely have our environment clean and healthy.

Bhutan is a small nation with a small population. If we have the will, we can easily make a difference. We do have the required laws and policies in place to ensure proper management of wastes but the lack of constant monitoring has given us the tendency to be complacent. While the continued public awareness on environmental issues can be an integral part of the long-term solution to the problem, I sometimes feel that without certain level of discipline, we may not be able to achieve the desired results. In Singapore, I have heard that even spitting in public places is an offence. But in Bhutan, we see Doma-chewers openly spitting and leaving messy stains on sidewalks, parked cars and walls, and yet, we don’t seem to care much. The stricter implementation of the existing rules and regulations combined with continued public education can be the most effective way to address waste management issues and promote a sustainable healthy environment.

Through the public announcement system onboard Pelyab Transport on 28th December 2019, we were warned that the failure to comply with the environmental laws and policies will result in penalties and fines, but as I have said above, there was nobody to monitor and see if everybody was following the rules seriously. Moreover, the announcement was played only once during the entire journey. I feel that it should be played at regular intervals until the bus stops at the destination so that the passengers won’t forget to collect and dispose their final pile of wastes into the bin before they leave the bus. Nevertheless, such a system is a very good initiative. It can go a long way in helping the public understand that waste management is a shared responsibility. I don’t know if such a system is available in all public transport services but if it isn’t, it is high time that they should have it now. Together, we can definitely bring a positive change.

12 comments:

  1. It's a surprise that such Bhutan laws are there. How r u amrith

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