Promoting bamboos as alternative flagpoles

Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) signed a grant agreement with Chhimi Dorji to provide grant of up to Nu 380,000 for the project titled “Promote Alternative flagpole to save young trees ” on 2 September 2019.

Under this project the grantee will purchase good quality bamboo of flagpole size and prepare them as flagpoles, and construct a water tank to treat these bamboos using environment-friendly methods. He will fabricate steel rings and hooks to conduct practical demonstration of other methods of offering prayer flag such as single pole canopy style and double pole screen style. This in long run is expected to reduce pressure on the forest for the flagpoles.

The project also has an opportunity to create employment for 6 to 10 people, and since the nature of work doesn’t require any qualification, uneducated youth, school dropout youths, single mothers looking for livelihood can be engaged meaningfully.

Besides, the project is expected to have revolutionary impact on conservation of trees and minimizing burden on environment, by making access to flagpoles easy, thereby benefiting families in times of death of members and other occasions. ‘Currently, acquiring permit, hiring labour, going into distant forests, preparing food for labour, etc. while fetching flagpoles are daunting tasks especially to the grieving families,” Chhimi Dorji said.

Young trees are selectively felled to offer prayer flags on various occasions, especially after a person dies, which will eventually pose a huge burden to our forest resources. Young trees are critical for the health of the forest but continuous and legal felling to meet the demand for flagpoles could have huge impact the sacred national wealth.

This project also aim to perform a research on the number of young trees being cut down for flagpoles in and around Thimphu, Punakha and Paro, and do an impact study on how much trees can be saved over the year if an alternative flagpole could be used.
In order to the promote and create awareness on the alternative flagpoles, and alternative methods to offer prayer flags, pilot the use of treated Bamboo poles as alternative for wooden flag poles and experiment various methods (single-pole-multiple-flags method, double-pole screen method, etc.) of offering prayer flags will be explored.

If the pilot project is successful the idea will be shared to the public through social media, Television, newspapers etc. This project will not only save enormous number of trees but will also minimize risks such as drying of water source, soil erosion, human accidents, besides making the whole process of offering prayer flag convenient for the public.

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