ISLAMABAD, Feb 19: Land in Islamabad is valuable indeed - more so, it seems, if designated as a landfill site.
That is what the Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials implied when they told the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change that since high-class housing has arisen around the “planned” Kurri landfill site, they are searching for a new dumping site for the 800 tons of waste that the city produces daily.
Interestingly, CDA’s own Park Enclave has been competing with the mighty Bahria Enclave as the new lavish housing schemes in rural Islamabad and in the vicinity of the abandoned Kurri site.
“This site was found suitably away from the city for a landfill. But in view of the two housing schemes, and the people who will be living there, we thought of finding a new site,” CDA’s project director of the landfill plan said in response to a question from Senator Saeeda Iqbal, the senate committee’s chairperson.
In fact her query about the Park Enclave and Bahria Enclave was directed at CDA’s Member Engineering, Sanaullah Aman, but he deflected it to his junior officer.
After all somebody in the CDA has to bear the responsibility for allowing housing projects that provided an excuse for relocating the Kurri landfill site, chosen after a US-assisted study in the 1990s.
Before that the best planned city of Pakistan had no designated landfill site, just a make-shift one in Sector G-10. It became a nuisance as the city grew in size and population - close to 1.8 million now.
It took CDA years to remove the nuisance to its present site in the poorer Sector I-12, and only after the Islamabad High Court took up residence in G-10.
“We need a report on the housing societies and why the CDA backed out of developing the Kurri landfill,” Senator Saeeda Iqbal said.
Member engineering Aman assured that the report would be submitted at the next meeting of the senate standing committee. That would be a long way off as the country is going to the polls in a few months to elect a new government.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been raising serious objections to the CDA dumping solid waste at the present I-12 site.
One EPA official, who did not want to be named, claimed that the study done by US environmentalists in the 1990s had declared the Kurri site good enough for dumping solid waste for the next 200 years.
However, according to him, red tape in the CDA, lack of political will and litigation by landowners in Kurri, prevented the city to benefit from the study.
“Islamabad is producing over 800 tons of garbage daily which is huge and needs to be properly disposed at a planned dumping site,” said the official.
Water Filtration Plants
At the senate committee meeting, Minister for Climate Change, Rana Farooq Saeed criticised the CDA for its failure to fix the damaged filtration plants in the city.
“In a number of sectors your filtration plants are out of order. There are faulty water taps at almost every plant,” he said.
CDA has set up more than 37 water filtration plants in Islamabad to provide clean drinking water to the citizens.
Member engineering Aman promised that all the damaged filtration plants and water taps will be fixed “and the committee members apprised of the action”.
Officials of the ministry of climate change conveyed to the senate panel that CDA would implement the “no more use of plastic bags and plastic products in Islamabad” regulation notified by the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) on January 31.
The regulation prohibits manufacturing, import, sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and other plastic products in the Islamabad capital territory from April 1.