Tourists join bhutanese TikTok users, residents to keep Bumthang clean

PET bottles, beer cans and chips wrappers collected during the cleaning campaign from nature
Over 30 people participated in the cleaning campaign in Bumthang. Eight of the participants were tourists from Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) in Europe. And 11 were Bhutanese social media app users called tiktok. Rest were the local residents of Bumthang. The campaign was conducted on August 31.
Waste management is still a 21st century global. Bhutan, despite being known for its pristine and clean environment, is facing the waste problem like any other country across the world. With urbanization and increased population, it resulted in increased waste generation over the year. Thus, it’s important to address and create awareness on waste management through cleaning campaigns and zero waste hour observed every first Friday of the month.
Esteban Witzemann, a 50-years-old tourist from Germany said, “I have joined this cleaning campaign to give back to Bhutan and to create awareness in action while helping the country to retain its image as a clean destination.”
Despite many awareness given to people varying from schools to Dzongkhags, we witness an increasing number of improper waste disposal in open areas and rivers. Bhutan has its own share of challenges in tackling waste management. The campaign group collected the waste and also advocated the people of Bumthang to be aware of the waste management.
Thinley Gyeltshen, a 32-years-old tourist guide said, “Foreigners were interested in the cleaning campaign. That’s how we planned in organizing a cleaning program. We tried our best in creating awareness and I actually hope we can overcome the waste management issue in our country.” 
“Actually, I don’t think organizing a cleaning campaign would be necessary if we take care of our own trash and dump it in a proper dustbin,” added the guide.
Bhutan is known for its pristine environment and environmental concerns, enshrined in Gross National Happiness (GNH) pillars. 
Waste-management is a global concern calling for action and needs global action from each and every individual. Wastes pollute nature as it takes many years to degrade. As nature suffers, it also impacts every life on earth.
“Despite, Bhutan being one of the exemplary countries to the world for being a clean and carbon negative country, wastes are seen lying around; beneath the road, in the forest, on the river banks and sacred sites. Everyone should put a social effort to combat waste management,” said one of the campainners.
The tourist guide claimed that getting rid of combustion engines and polluting industries should be a global goal as we have to save our mother nature for future goals and generations.
The Bhutanese TikTok users have organized a cleaning campaign for 10 times covering Thimphu, Paro, Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha and Bumthang Dzongkhag. They plan to organize more mass cleaning campaign over the course of time.
Karma Kuenzang Dorji, a Proprietor of Open doors tours & camp; treks and also a founder of Bhutanese TikTok cleaning campaign group said, “We have asked people to join us for cleaning campaign but they reverted us saying that its municipals’ job. Some of them even mentioned they pay tax and the concerned authority should work on it.”
“However, I think it is also our social and moral responsibility to keep our own country clean. It is a place where our generations are going to live,” said Karma Kuenzang Dorji.
He called out on every citizen to be patriotic towards the country. He said, “it is a social responsibility and we should come together to achieve the common goals.”
Kezang Deki, 27-years-old member of Bhutanese TikTok users said, “Being the future resources
of our country it’s our responsibility to make awareness of the mounting waste problems in the country. As a youth we should set examples to young children of Bhutan through action so that younger generations could follow the lead.” The importance of telling and showing how to be a responsible citizen to young minds has become timely.
Every time they carried out a cleaning campaign, most of the wastes collected were plastic bottles, chip cover and beer cans.
Some campaigners pointed out that people tend to wait for others to clean their surroundings. Waste management should be addressed everywhere. For how long when shall we wait for the concerned authority and departments to establish a strategized policies and sustainable solutions? It is also an individual and social responsibility.
The cleaning campaign at Bumthang was carried out from Jakar Lhakang till Chamkhar town. It has been more than four months that the TikTok users came up with an idea to initiate cleaning campaign programs other than spending their time entertaining, dancing, singing and doing live conversation through the app. They plan to clean the trash throughout the country in the coming days.