Open dumping: A nuisance for Islooites

Humayun Aziz Sandeela
Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

The enormous volume of municipal solid waste generated daily in the twin cities is causing environmental degradation but the authorities concerned are doing nothing about the serious issue leading us to yet another environmental disaster.

Open disposal is the most common technique used for municipal solid waste management due to the absence of sanitary landfills in Pakistan. The major cities and small towns in Pakistan have become a showcase of negligence and mismanagement of MSW, which results in deterioration of the environmental and social-life quality. Moreover, research has proved that inefficient handling (disposal) of MSW results in uncontrolled emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly methane, and adds a significant share in global climate change. Pakistan has been at the receiving end of climate change despite being low contributor of greenhouse gases.

Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure like other developing countries, creating serious environmental problems. In the cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta most municipal waste is burned, dumped, or buried on vacant lots, threatening the health and welfare of the general population.

Thousands of tons of waste is daily dumped in Islamabad at various locations by the teams of civic authorities which has polluted the atmosphere in the capital territory while environmental experts have demanded that civic managers, Capital Development Authority, and Municipal Corporation Islamabad to come up with a proper waste disposal plan to address the issue once and for all. Solid waste not only pollutes the environment when the wind blows or it is set on fire but its residual pollutes underground water too.

In an age of advanced technologies to recycle garbage and generate energy, the federal capital still lacks a permanent landfill site to scientifically dump trash for ensuring a clean, healthy, and green environment. Although CDA had proposed several areas like Kurri and Sangjani for setting up a proper landfill site. But the proposals have not seen the light of day and the open dumping in areas like I-12, National University of Sciences and Technology and now near I-11 Fruits and Vegetable Market has become a nuisance for Islooites. It seems the civic authorities seem least interested in addressing the menace scientifically or are they waiting for an environmental disaster to happen?

The civic managers of the city can address the issue in a more convenient way as a number of integrated resource recovery centres, one of the successful South Asian model for solid waste management, have been established in private housing societies where the waste generated by the inhabitants of these societies is picked up, segregated and recycled in form of organic compost in an efficient manner.

CDA can take a leaf out of the book of these private housing societies and we are certain the civic managers would have at least heard of the technology which can address the problem of such grave concern in a more convenient and environment friendly manner.