Pasakha Industrial Estate is located 18 kilometres from Phuentsholing and is Bhutan’s first major industrial town. Due to the locational advantage and availability of cheap electricity, Pasakha Industrial Estate is an attractive destination for mineral based industries. Further, proximity to the Indian border enables swift and easy import of raw materials, labour and provides a market to sell finished products. Presently, there are 39 industries present within the Pasakha Industrial Estate, out of which around 46% of industries are air polluting. Since the industrial area is located in a valley, this natural restriction leads to poor dilution and dispersion of the pollutants and therefore remains confined in the valley for a long time. Thus, the operation of industries in this area contributes to deteriorating the ambient air quality of the region.
CSE, along with National Environment Commission (NEC), Bhutan conducted an assessment of the Pasakha Industrial Estate in November 2018 with an objective to carry out cumulative impact assessment study of Pasakha Industrial Estate (PIE) alongwith evaluating the efficiency of pollution abatement equipments installed by the industries and understand the point source and fugitive emissions from industries. The monitoring assessment shows high pollutant emissions at various locations exceeding the standards. These emissions are not localized to Pasakha industrial estate, but it spreads in all directions due to wind movement and the area over several kilometers is adversely affected.