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ISLAMABAD: The capital’s sanitation director said at a Senate committee meeting on Monday that under a garbage collection plan, every housing unit in Islamabad will be charged up to Rs1,500 for the service.

Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) Director Sanitation Sardar Khan Zimri told the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change that the MCI is trying to extend garbage collection services to the capital’s rural areas. If this target is achieved, he said, the MCI will charge residents.

“We can charge Rs1,500, but we are also mulling whether the MCI should share half the cost and the remainder should be [paid by residents]. Various options are under consideration,” he said.

The MCI currently only collects garbage from the capital’s urban areas, which it then dumps at a temporary landfill in I-12. The corporation has placed large bins in some rural areas in which residents may throw their garbage, which it later collects. The I-12 landfill is filled almost to capacity, and there is no formal collection system in place anywhere in the rural areas.

Pak-EPA DG tells Senate committee agency plans to measure capital’s carbon footprint

The MCI has made several announcements over the last three years about projects in this regard, but nothing has materialised on the ground.

Its proposal to outsource garbage collection in all 50 union councils last year hit a snag when I-17, where land had been earmarked for a waste-to-energy plant to burn around 1,000 tons of garbage and produce 10 megawatts of electricity, was selected as the site for a medical city.

Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz told senators on Monday that they are now looking for “a new site for the proposed waste-to-energy project and landfill”.

After the meeting, MCI officials told Dawn the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has proposed a site in Sangjani that will be finalised in the next few weeks.

The committee, chaired by Senator Sitara Ayaz, discussed various matters. Senator Faisal Aziz told members that sanitation at Faisal Mosque was not up to the mark, at which the committee directed the MCI to rectify.

The mayor told the committee that after warnings, citizens can be fined for littering around the mosque.

He added that there were reports of people wasting water to wash their vehicles. In response, he said, the MCI will fine residents Rs500 for washing cars at home amid a water shortage, which is a violation of municipal law.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed also raised water scarcity in the capital, as well as the poor condition of Marghazar Zoo.

During a briefing by Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Director General Farzana Altaf Shah, senators were told efforts are underway to rid Islamabad of plastic bags.

She said the agency and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries are working to develop a strategy to tackle water pollution by pharmaceutical industries through waste water treatment plants.

She added that the agency regularly monitors ambient air. With assistance from partners, she said, the agency is also planning to “conduct carbon footprinting of Islamabad Capital Territory”.

The EPA also plants to install incinerators in Industrial Area under public-private partnerships to handle hospital and industrial waste, she said.

The committee had earlier expressed concern about the lack of incinerators in Islamabad hospitals, after learning that only Polyclinic and Pims, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, have them.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2019