Bhutan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, October, 2013
Bhutan will have a fully documented realigned national action plan (NAP) to combat land degradation by January next year, which would then be endorsed by the government and submitted to the United Nations convention to combat desertification (UNCCD). Read more in this October 2013 edition of the Monthly Bhutan State of the Environment Report published by the South Asia Environment Portal. Read and Share. ENVIRONMENT The five-day national youth forum on “Empowering youth for climate change research in Bhutan”, which brought together participants from seven colleges, ended on October 5, 2013 at the Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Trashigang. LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE Bhutan will have a fully documented realigned national action plan (NAP) to combat land degradation by January next year, which would then be endorsed by the government and submitted to the United Nations convention to combat desertification (UNCCD). MINING Of the total 81 mines and quarries in operation across Bhutan, the royal audit authority of Bhutan (RAA) found 22 mines were located close to human settlement and agricultural land, while 17 stone quarries were located too close or just adjacent to highways. DAMS The Punatsangchhu hydroelectric project I (PHPA I) authority in Bhutan formally approved delay of the project by a year and endorsed additional cost of Nu 3.5B for remedial purposes at the dam site. This was done in meeting of the authority of the hydropower projects, which include PHPA II and Mangdechhu, from Bhutan and India chaired by the economic affairs minister. FORESTS To clamp down on illegal trade of sandalwood, the agriculture ministry in Bhutan, is appending penalties on offences related to illegal trade of red sander, commonly known as red sandalwood. FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS The recent rainfall, according to the preliminary report from the Dzongkhag administration in Bhutan, affected about 65 percent of the paddy harvest in nine of the 10 gewogs in Paro. To enhance capacity of the department of hydro-met services (DHMS) and related agencies on emergency response against glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) and rainstorm flood, a project to set up national weather flood forecasting and warning centre (NWFFWC) in Thimphu, and GLOF and rainstorm early warning system in Mangdechhu and Chamkharchhu basins was launched in the capital. HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS In Bhutan, mass awareness campaigns and distribution of chemically treated mosquito nets are the reasons for Chukha dzongkhag reporting only two malaria cases this year, up by one from last year, according to health officials. As pledged, the Bhutan government has begun reviewing nutrition levels of food served to more than 46,000 students in boarding schools across the country. The Bhutan Ministry of Health launched the second biennial health conference at the National Institute of Traditional Medicine’s conference in Thimphu. ENERGY Bhutan’s ongoing biogas project will achieve at least 85 percent of the total target by the end of the project in February next year, according to the department of livestock. The funding agency, Asian Development Bank (ADB), has agreed to extend the project by another two years. The newly approved alternative renewable energy policy (AREP 2013) in Bhutan, which says it will allow public participation in developing projects, has not been well received by the private sector. Bhutan for the first time would be required to enter into an arrangement with the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal to import electricity during the coming winter months, when domestic consumption is expected to spike with the imminent commissioning of the Dungsam Cement project in Nganglam.