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ISLAMABAD: The sanitation directorate of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has requested the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the allocation of a permanent landfill site as the existing temporary one in the residential sector of I-12 has reached its maximum capacity and there is no more space available there.

The directorate also pointed out that it was facing hardship in daily disposal of garbage, municipal solid waste and meeting frequent fire incidents caused by an inappropriate waste disposal.

Through a letter, Director Sanitation Sardar Khan Zimri informed the CDA members planning and estate on Aug 27 that the landfill site at I-12 also had several demerits such as it was located on the land of a planned sector.

Sanitation directorate approaches CDA for allotment of a permanent landfill site, official says

It is also adjacent to IJP Road and in the close proximity of residential areas of Rawalpindi. Some portions of the dumping site also affected the areas in its vicinity.

“Although, all-out efforts are being made to contain outdoor/littering problem by covering the waste with soil, some portion of it affects the areas in vicinity,” read the letter.

“In this connection, a case is at the final stage in the environment tribunal of Islamabad and it is expected that the court will issue a direction to stop dumping at I-12. Consequently, it will become impossible to dispose of the huge amount of garbage - 750-800 metric tons daily - as no land methodology is available for the purpose.”

As a result, it added, uncollected garbage would create a mess and nuisance with the threat of epidemic and criticism from the citizens.

“To resolve the issue on a long-term basis, it is reiterated that a suitable permanent site may be allotted on an emergency basis, considering minimum hauling distance and distant from residential centres/population.”

The CDA has so far no permanent landfill site to dispose of about 800 metric tons of garbage the city generates daily. The issue remained neglected by the city managers as they kept shifting the temporary sites.

A few months ago, the civic agency explored an option to set up a landfill site in Sangjani near the Margalla Hills. But sources said after visits by member estate Khushal Khan and former member planning Asad Mehboob Kayani to the site in June this year, no serious work was done to start the work.

The CDA had earmarked Rs100 million for its landfill project in the financial year 2018-19. In January, the civic agency decided to set up a landfill and waste-to-energy plant in I-17 but the entire sector was allotted to the medical city of a military-run university.

A site for the city’s first landfill was initially selected in Kuri based on an international consultant’s report and following approval from the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency. But the CDA board in a surprising move in 2012 announced that the location would be shifted to H-10 where a temporary site was established.

A report by the auditor general of Pakistan last year stated that delays in the execution of the CDA’s Rs1 billion Kuri landfill project had deprived the capital of a much-needed landfill site. The audit also observed that the landfill was not constructed due to issues with the possession of the acquired site in Kuri. The CDA board decided to relocate it to H-10 and then to I-12, I-14, I-15 and back to I-12 which has now met its capacity.

When contacted, the director sanitation said through the letter he had informed his seniors about the issue. “There is an immediate need for the setting up of a new site otherwise there will a crisis-like situation in coming months,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018