May 4, 2015

Walking in the footstep of Ap Bokto

Any Bhutanese, young or old, in any part of the world would not conclude their description on Bhutan without making a mention of our pristine environment. Such is the degree of pride and precedence that we set over our lush green environment
More so, it’s introduced as module in schools and spelt out as one of the pillars of GNH to depict how indispensable it is to Bhutanese. Various legislations and acts are also put in place to accentuate its importance.

Geographically, we are sandwiched between two of world giants but what keep us unparalleled and known to rest of the world is because of our green gold. Since long time back, Bhutanese have maintained intimate connection and revered environment as source of life. His majesty the fourth king was awarded with prestigious champion of the earth medal in 2005 for his tireless stewardship towards environment.
Today, as the country strides forward, one challenge that we confront is waste management. With mushrooming number of population, the problem is getting uglier to our sight day by day. However, at individual level, if we do our own part the problems can be trimmed to a large extent.
Walking in the footstep of Ap Bokto is one way of playing our part- be a responsible citizen.
On 18th April, there was a mass cleaning campaign marathon. Hundreds of Ap Bokto gathered to clean up the litters which were scattered all over. Majority of trashes were plastics from junk food while few constituted sanitary pads dumped so irresponsibly. However, we did our share- picking up junks, cutting grasses and clearing drains. It almost consumed six hours.
Now what’s worrying is that the toil of six hours could be beaten within seconds, if it is not for the collective efforts from all individuals. So, everyone should be held responsible. It would, of course, be more effective with strict surveillance from municipal’s side at least twice in a month along with appropriate interventions, say like levying fines, from dzongkhags’ side to taper off the waste issues. Otherwise, as stated above, investment of 6 hours would go fruitless. Moreover, if parents can curtail buying junk foods to their children, there would not surface any need for extra cleaning campaign.
The only grievance over the cleaning campaign was the insufficiency of tractors. When we could clean huge span of area, they weren't able to supply at least two waste collector tractors. Even the one delivered came only once that failed to accommodate the wastes. Thereafter, it went out of sight.

Anyway for next round of cleaning, it was a take home message that sufficient tractors be supplied and if not, a truck to house enough wastes so that work proceeds gracefully without any friction in between.
As school constitutes the larger segment, few mull over that the school should spearhead programs of such kind, as if the tradition was passed down since time immemorial. How can we conceive the idea of clean environment when it is lone school versus large communities around? It is high time that we change our mindset and accept it as everyone’s liability because we believe each one of us are custodian of clean Bhutan.
Let us be reminded of Ap Boktos’ message before waiting for school to come and clean. Together, we can promote brand Bhutan go clean and green.