RAWALPINDI: Divisional Commissioner Saqib Zafar on Wednesday asked the civic bodies of the city and cantonment areas to make coordinated efforts to improve sanitation and asked them to submit reports within two days on waste residue in their respective areas.

Mr Zafar was speaking at a meeting of the Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC), held to review its performance and finances. The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner Ali Randhawa, RWMC CEO Behzad Adil and officials from the Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards.

The meeting discussed that there are three to four landfill sites in Rawalpindi district run by different civic bodies including the two cantonment boards, Pakistan Railways, the RWMC and private housing societies.

The commissioner was unhappy with the performance of the civic bodies in the cantonment areas because they had failed to remove garbage from the streets and roads, especially in areas bordering the city, which was creating health and environmental issues for residents.

Divisional commissioner says a system should be introduced to minimise environmental, health issues

The meeting was told that private housing societies and the Defence Housing Authority lift garbage from their respective areas and dump it in Losar, while the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) have rented land in the rural areas of Rawalpindi, which has created problems for villagers and their crops.

The commissioner said that because of environmental problems in Rawalpindi, a system needs to be introduced in the city as well as in the cantonment areas so that the district administration can supervise garbage disposal and ensure it is dumped in a scientific manner to protect residents from viral diseases and environmental issues.

The meeting was told that the cantonment areas lift 900 tons of garbage every day from the two cantonment boards, but a major portion is left unattended because of the lack of space in the hired landfill sites.

In Rawalpindi city, the RWMC lifts more than 800 tons of garbage from the streets and main roads which is dumped in the landfill site in Losar. The company took charge of 74 union councils in the district, while the remaining areas have been left unattended.

Pakistan Railways also lifts garbage from its areas and colonies, which it sells to a private company to dump outside the city. However, a major portion of garbage is not lifted in order to save money.

The commissioner intends to resolve this problem and wants garbage to be collected by one body or organisation, to be dumped outside the city in a proper landfill site.

Cantonment representatives said the boards do not have the money to pay the RWMC to lift garbage, but the commissioner asked them to submit reports and make suggestions to improve the sanitation situation.

He said the border issues of different civic bodies would be cleared soon to keep the district clean.

He also directed civic bodies to prepare a comprehensive plan for Eidul Azha and identify transfer stations before and after Eid. He said cleanliness must be ensured in the district.

Mr Zafar also asked for the cleaning of nullahs in Rawalpindi before the monsoon to be sped up.

“The waste from the nullahs will be shifted outside the city areas, and do not dump it on the banks of nullahs,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019