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Karachi has been turned into a huge ‘rubbish bin’

Monday, 6 March 2017


KARACHI: “The present capacity and resour­ces of (the city) cannot cater to the quantum of garbage being genera­ted daily,” said AD Sajnani, chief of the provincial Solid Waste Manage­ment Board (SWMB) set up in 2015 to deal with the garbage disposal.

A megacity of towering high rises and sprawling illegal settlements on the Arabian Sea, saw its growth explode in recent decades after waves of migration, largely refugees fleeing the war in Afghanis­tan and Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Its population of at least 20-25 million produces roughly 12,000 tonnes of trash daily, officials say.

Municipal authorities are able to remove about half, says Sajnani – though sceptics argue it is far less.

The rest is strewn in the streets and alleys, some organic and decom­­posing in the sweltering heat of the port, the rest piling higher and higher.

Some officials and residents are improvising – burning the leftover garbage, largely plastic waste, says Imran Sabir, a senior official at the Environment Protec­tion Agency (EPA) for Sindh province.

“The plastic burns and releases toxic gases – some of which are carcinogenic,” he said.

The burning goes on for months at a time beneath hazy skies in some parts of the city.

There are two landfill sites loca­ted in Karachi’s western outskirts, Sajnani of the SWMB said – but they are far from the city centre, on traffic-clogged roads, and at any rate are already overflowing. Political bickering and finger-pointing make solutions hard to grasp.

“This city has been turned into a huge rubbish bin,” Karachi’s former mayor Mustafa Kamal roared at a public rally recently.

Kamal, who served as mayor until 2010, blamed corruption and the gross incompetence of his politi­cal rivals, citing kickbacks on waste disposal contracts and even the diesel used to run the garbage trucks.

But current mayor Waseem Akhtar, elected in 2016, complains he has no money and no power, his authority taken away by the provincial government, which in turn has now brought in Chinese contractors to manage garbage disposal in at least two of the city’s five districts.

Many believe the real fix can only come if authorities and citizens address the root of the problem: rampant consumption and waste by millions of residents in a city where there is no recycling, no attempt to curb the use of plastic and no one willing to take responsibility for cleaning up.

Source by: Internet

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