Garbage in and out - bfl

‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ in WCNP

‘In pursuit of keeping our pristine alpine ecosystem clean and green’

Most of the communities in the highlands of the Wangchuck Centennial National Park (WCNP) go to higher altitude areas annually to collect the Cordyceps. Over the years, it was observed that there was huge accumulation waste in the mountain areas which were otherwise clean and pristine. The waste generation in these alpine regions was associated with the increasing movement of Cordyceps collectors as there were waste in the caves, grooves, crevices of rocks, and underneath rhododendron thickets. Some thrown into water bodies while some lay littered along the pathways.

The Park officials tried to clean during their monitoring visits to these areas but it was getting difficult for few officials to transport these wastes on their own till the designated areas. The WCNP management has been implementing various means including awareness and cleaning programs (as seen in Image 1) to deter these people from keeping their waste unattended. It was learnt that many of them were ignorant about the impacts on the natural state of environment due to improper disposal of waste.

‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ - GIGO is one such initiative that somewhat guaranteed a reduction of waste accumulation in the alpine region. Accordingly, the Cordyceps collectors were required to bring back and declare their wastes at the exit point. The collectors after understanding the problems of improper waste management agreed to bring back certain amount of waste. Since there was no proper structure to collect the waste, the Park installed a makeshift enclosure. The Cordyceps collectors brought back around 2700 kilograms of waste. As can be seen in Image 2, the temporary structure overflowed with the waste that was brought about by the collectors. The stray animals would be seen trying to destroy this temporary shelter and hence, it was planned that a permanent structure needs to be in place.

The BFL project was timely to support building a permanent structure (Image 3) with proper segregation before transporting it to designated disposal sites. With funding from the BFL project and in coordination with the Choekhor Geog Administration under Bumthang District, the Park was able to upscale and strengthen the GIGO system from 2020. Now, the eligible Cordyceps collectors are required to deposit Nu.1000 as a security deposit for their waste. The amount will be refunded once the collectors brought the required amount of waste.