World Clock

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Problems with Thimphu Waste Collection System.

We truly commend Thimphu Thromde Team and the Private Waste Collection Companies for the efforts and their initiatives. As far as we understand, Thimphu is one of the few Asian cities where Waste Segregation at Source is implemented. For that matter, even some European and American cities do not have that system yet!
While we already had some observations on the current system, now the Thromde is even asking building owners to place 2 bins for every house all across the city. Our comments on the system are as below;
1.     In most part of the city, wet waste is collected once a week and dry waste twice a week.  Storing wet/biodegradable waste for 6 days is not hygienic and practically a challenge for many families. Perhaps, the collection for wet waste should be twice and once for dry waste.
2.     The wet waste collection system on Norzin Lam stinks a lot with the foul smell and the leachate leaching from the truck in the middle of the street leaving behind dirty marks. Something should be done about the issue.
3.     All families do know about the waste segregation and separate collection days, but we believe not many are aware of the necessity. Most waste and cleaning are dealt by the least educated. It would be necessary to really educate and create awareness on what is biodegradable and what is not, and why we need to segregate them. It would be ideal to have some newspaper or radio or TV advertisements on that for education to achieve better results. Even if there is some, it has to be extensive and persistent.

Now on the proposed system of placement of 2 bins in front of every house. Following are the problems that we anticipate;

1.     Thimphu is renowned for dogs. How are we going to ensure that all bins will be secured properly? We have all experienced even closed bins left out in the street open with the contents out many a times!. This would only get exaggerated with the wet/biodegradable bins lying around for 6 days in front of every house across the whole city.
2.     The bins have to be large enough to accommodate the wet/dry waste for 6 days with only once a week waste collection unless we are talking about daily waste collection by the collection system. The waste will get overflown all over the bins or the owners will have to place large bins that will be similar to the previous communal bins we had in common areas. We all remember the problems with the communal bins with stray dogs, mixed waste and also overflowing. The other problem with larger bins will also be space constraint especially in dense areas such as Norzin lam.
3.     We just found out that the waste collection companies will empty the common building bins. But we know that half of Thimphu’s buildings are off- the road through stairs, footpath and alleys. Practically it would simply be impossible for the collection guys to collect from every house or for the house owners to depute someone to place the bins by the main road. Access to the building bins will be a huge challenge.
4.     As far as we understand, the bins are ordered as the laws requires house owners to be in-charge of the waste collection and that it would help officer goers who miss the waste collection trucks. However, we are worried that the financial obligation would eventually be passed onto the tenants in the form of increased sweeper/bin charges.
5.     Besides that, there are definitely better options for people who miss the 8AM/9AM Waste collection trucks. Why cant we do the collections at 6/7AM or 6/7PM as they do in many other cities? Maybe there should simply be a transfer station or two to do quick rounds of the city.
6.     Passing on one’s burden to someone just does not sound like a reasonable solution as that would only bring in more complications, problems and pose a public health disaster.
7.     By the way, citing the various clauses of the acts selectively also is not convincing. There are many other clauses in various such as the 24x7 Water Supply, clean drains, safe and secure footpath etc that are just lying around unanswered.

Monday, June 8, 2015

FDI, Foreign Direct Investment in Bhutan- Documents

Like mentioned in other places. The FDI, Foreign Direct Investment in Bhutan- Documents are really hard to find.
I had to make a phone call and eventually found it on the website of Ministry of Economic Affairs. They actually have a whole division dedicated to FDI. A search on the website will not get you to the document as it is not embedded.

The latest documents are as follows;
FDI Policy 2010, Revised 2014
Rules and Regulations
Process and Approval system

And a bunch of other things

I hope this helps!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Basic Statistics on Excel

I am always fascinated with Excel and its power. You think of something, you will find it in excel when it comes to analysis. Ofcourse it might be necessary to get some online help as well.

I always use excel to plot  graphs with  trend lines along with line equation and R.Squares. Today, I just wanted to get excel to give me the results in a table with basic statics and not on a graph.

The "Linest" formula does that magic pretty much easily with some twigs.

I found an online help that was very good.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Changing your Name on MS Word 2007

I just realized that all my edits on documents and my own documents are worked on by someone called "user." This is the default name used during installation.
I was just able to change the settings and my own name "Chhimi Dorji" shows up.

I googled and found the following most useful= with pictures! It might help you!

How do I change my initials in Word 2007?

Access Word Options by clicking the Office button at top left, then Word Options at the bottom:
1 word options 2007
Your Word Options box will open on the Popular tab and you can now change your name and initials:
1 2007

How do I change my initials in Office 2010?

Click on the File tab and select Options:
2 word options 2010
Click on Options, and you can change your name and initials:
2 2010

How do I change my initials in Word 2013?

First click on the File tab:
3a word options 2013
Select Options at the bottom of the list (use the arrow in a circle at the top left to get back to your document):
3b word options 2013
Click on Options and change your initials and name:
3 2013

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Electric Car Comparison Flawed by Kuensel!

There was this piece in Kuensel that really disturbed me saying that Electric Cars in Bhutan are not even Evnrionmentally Friendly, forget being economical. I believe it is totally flawed on wrong asusumptions. Bhutan is one of the first places on earth that have the most advantage of using electric cars.
This is the article.. followed by my say.

Electric Car Comparison Flawed by Kuensel!
On the Kuensel issue of May 6, 2015 there was a report suspecting that the Electric Cars are environmentally worse and economically not comparable to, Maruti Altos. I beg to differ, and provide following justifications. By the way, I am only an electric car user and an Environmental professional and Engineer.

1.       CDM benefits are easier said than done and are not applicable for all of our projects;
Yes, in theory the Dagachhu power generation could be sold on the CDM market and enable Bhutan to receive Carbon credits and subsequent payment. However, the Koyoto Protocol and CDM modalities itself are under major reviews and there is no guarantee that the credits will be paid up without proper buyers and validation. Also, currently Bhutan’s total power consumption is only to the tune of only about 15% of our total generation and the rest are exported to India. This excludes Dagachhu and future hydropower projects that are potential for CDM benefits. Therefore, what we will be using for charging our electric cars will not be from the new and upcoming projects which could be used on the CDM market. The power from our existing Chukhha or Tala or Kurichhu are way more than we can ever use for chagrining our cars. CDM certification of new hydropower projects and use of electricity for electric cars are NOT one or other scenario in Bhutan’s case.
On the other hand, if we are strategic, we can even sell the idea of CDM certification of  our electric cars. By the theoretical CDM criteria it will qualify and easier to monitor and verify.

2.       Comparison of Maruti Alto’s mileage and its impact on CO2 emission to that of Nissan Leaf is comparing Apples and Oranges;
I like the maths in the Maruti Alto Vs Nissan Leaf. But one of the basic assumption is wrong in the calculation. Maruti Alto at Nu 500,000 is an economical car with basic functionality. Nissan Leaf at Nu 1.48M is a compact car with state-of-the-art functions such as 6 Air Bags, Seat-heating systems, Automatic Transmissions, rear camera, bluetbooth compatibility, intelligent key with push start, full leather seats, rear wiper and heater among other things. A fair comparison on that front will be use the capital cost of Mahindra Reva  (costing about 500,000) to that of  Maruti Alto  and  Nissan Leaf to a sedan such as a  Hyundai Accent/Sonata (1.4M+).
Based on these revised comparisons, my maths tells me that if one wants to drive a slightly more expensive car such as a Accent/Sontana or for that matter  the recent hot cakes Ford EcoSport  or Nissan Terrano or Duster, Nissan Leaf will take the trophy for Life cycle cost analysis and emissions.  For the entry level, we will need to compare Maruti Alto with smaller, simpler electric cars such as Reva.
As far as I know, Bhutan is only one of the few countries in the world, wherein all of the fossil fuels (diesel, petrol etc) are imported and almost all of our electricity is hydro-renewable energy. We thus have the most urgent and crucial need to substitute the import of fossil fuels by all means possible. This will not only make the country economically better off but also energy less dependent. I actually believe that the government should further incentivize the purchase and use of electric cars. In other countries, besides the no-tax, further rebates also provided.
In many countries, the use and promotion of electric cars are hindered by the big rich oil companies due to their vested interest in having a perpetual market for themselves. We do not have that in Bhutan. It seems our oil importers and business fraternity is in full support of national security and environmental justice. In Bhutan’s case, we can perhaps look into lower registration costs for electric cars; better loan interests by the banks through a collaboration with BOIC; special savings account for electric car owners, specially taxi owners from their savings; setting up of fast-charging stations at important nodes; and also helping diversify the fleet in the country from other manufacturers to avoid any monopoly and criticism of favoring one or two suppliers alone.