Zoom on garbage

Screaming for help

Are you an important government official? If so, did you receive an invitation to attend Young Zoom on Garbage, the art festival currently on at the Clock Tower Square? And if so, did you make it to the festival?

Chances are that you didn’t.

Young Zoom on Garbage is meant to be an innovative and powerful way of drawing much needed attention to a very serious problem. So the organizers sent out more than 200 invitations for yesterday’s opening function. But only a handful showed up: barely 10% of the invitees were able to attend the inaugural ceremonies.

That’s too bad.

The participants – about 60 children, mostly students, who, incidentally, took part in the project’s many activities during much of the last year – have put on quite a show. They have transformed the Clock Tower Square into an awesome display of Thimphu’s waste, as they caused discarded cardboard boxes, beer bottles, cement bags, newspapers, mobile voucher cards, prayer flags, cigarette boxes, computers, and heaps of plastic bottles, wrappers and bags to effortlessly morph into a video dome, a walk-in pinhole camera, a robot, a towering monster, giant raindrops, a plastic monument, a photo gallery, and an enormous hand clutching our vulnerable world.

At the Clock Tower Square, our garbage looks strangely attractive. But the message is not lost: we produce too much waste.

I congratulate VAST, the organizers of the event, for continuing to champion what their founder, Asha Karma, calls ABC on NGP (Advocacy Behavioral Change on National Garbage Problem).

And I congratulate TCC, for co-organizing the event, giving support and adding to the event’s success.

To register your support, and to make the festival a bigger success, visit the Clock Tower Square, especially if you are one of the 200 important invitees.

Our banner, featuring the “Walk the River” photo exhibition, is an open invitation to you, your family and your friends to zoom on garbage at the VAST art festival. The festival runs through Sunday.


Facebook Comments:


  1. It was a pleasure to meet you at the exposition yesterday, Mr. OL.

    I thought the concept of combining art and awareness was so well done by VAST and the other contributors. The bottle tower and bottle cap map were especially eye-catching.

    It really is a shock to see the garbage/litter issue around town given all the talk about the beauty of nature and so forth. Is the city not considered to be part of ‘the environment’?

    When I was an elementary student in the early 80s, there was a big national Canadian campaign against litter called Pitch In (http://www.pitch-in.ca). It got the anti-garbage message across to my age group although at that time, we were simply collecting rubbish and keeping our local area tidy. The Young Zoom on Garbage event put more of a focus on using less or recycling and the longevity of the material we throw away. I think this is the other side of the problem which is even more important to understand from a young age.

    Too bad so many other officials didn’t support the event. But, there are two more days still.

  2. That is a very good initiative and i feel the young group deserve a great appreciation.

    I am currently studying outside and am specialising in waste management,simultaneously trying to find a solution to waste problems in our country.And i wish to contribute to the system once I get back.

  3. Its sad to hear that many people did not visit the festival. it went on for three days, so i hope the exhibit was more successful later……….It’s also that these people who didn’t take out the time to go there missed something very important, and i dont mean only the lessons on garbage. n display was enormous creativity, VAST style, children learning and teaching how things could be done in a better way…..it was an artists delight. And we, committed to a better BHutan, need to look at all our issues in the eye, including garbage, but we also need to be inspired by possibilities- which is what i think the festival represented. how to take rubbish and turn it into something wonderful- literally. Was proud of VAST, and the children.

  4. This the display was a creative and imaginative one.
    Regarding voucher cards why not bhutan telecome provide some amount as incentive for every e-load. This would reduce the waste and expenses in may terms. Or collect the used ones.

  5. Great work by City and VAST. We hope more of such activities will come and finally we Bhutanese will change our bad habits to save our environment for our children. Just curious though, the picture of the person in the flower pot looks like OL but he seems to be laughing not screaming for help.

  6. I would also like to express my appreciation to VAST, students, and other organizers and supporters.

    Beside ad-hoc clean up campaigns, we need such creative ideas to educate and create awareness of the serious garbage problem we face today. Such ideas will go a long way in changing our people’s mindset. “Education” is the long term solution to any problem.

    I strongly feel that this can be most effective if it is organized during our Annual Tshechu Festivals in different Dzongkhags.

  7. Great job! VAST. Besides the ABC on NGP, it’s a great way of showing that it’s the imagination and the courage and motivation to show it that constrains us more than the resources that we so often complain about.

  8. Thats an awesome job. Kudos to VAST and TCC.

    I hope they took care of the items after the display and has some back up plans.


  9. Chhoden Tshering Alcorn says

    What an impressive and creative event VAST put together, certainly deserving of attendance by key Government leaders! Hopefully there was a small crowd representing certain environmental program/project leaders. Was there anyone from the Thimphu City Corporation? Do we have a government body working on a waste management or recycle program? Sorry for these ignorant questions but living away from home i have sadly lost track some of these developments back home. We were back home this spring and concerned to see the Thimphu chu banks littered with waste, sigh but events like these help – every additional individual now thinking of our Capital’s garbage issue is a leap towards raising awareness and making positive changes for the future. Once again, YEAH to VAST.

  10. All, very well said.

    But, solving the garbage problem anywhere begins at home, HERE & NOW.

    So, what are we — each and every one of us — going to do about it???

    Exactly the same, by the way, on GNH…

  11. Kudos to VAST! We need such revolutionizing ideas and activities targeting the Youth who can bring cultural and behavioral changes in the society.

    People always keep saying we need to do something about our garbage, and this is the way to go. VAST is phenomenal with creative thinkers like Asha Karma pioneering it.


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