ISLAMABAD: Fearing that Islamabad could become ‘another Karachi’ owing to the problems with collection of the 600 tons of solid waste that it generates every day, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to devise a system for the capital’s garbage collection and its sorting.
Funding will also be allocated to address water scarcity through replacing leaking supply lines and repairing tubewells in various areas, particularly I-8, I-10 and Margalla Town.
It was decided at a meeting attended by local MNA Ali Awan, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and PTI Islamabad president Fareed Rehman and others that all possible steps should be taken to ensure Islamabad does not become another Karachi, which has seen national and international criticism of its poor solid waste collection and management.
Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant and air pollution control facility, or other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations.
Funding to be allocated to address water scarcity by replacing supply lines, repairing tubewells, meeting decides
One of the meeting’s participants said on the condition of anonymity that it was observed that there were a number of issues related to garbage collection and the sanitation department.
“The Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) has 1,500 employees in the sanitation department but it has also awarded contracts to private parties to collect garbage and has been paying them around Rs700 million every year. The MCI also awarded three contracts for the collection of garbage in the I sectors, but later cancelled one of them. This has severely affected the garbage collection process,” he said.
He claimed the CDA has allocated five sites across the city to the MCI to sort garbage and has not charged them anything. But garbage sorting is being carried outat dumpsters, which is causing the spillover of garbage observed across the city, he said.
Garbage sorting, which is carried out by sanitation workers and private individuals, including children, separates various kinds of garbage, such as paper, metal, and so on.
The meeting participant said that it was also discussed whether the MCI should carry out garbage collection itself or outsource it completely, as employees of the sanitation department”were not doing anything”.
He said the capital’s water scarcity problem was also discussed.
“Not only would tubewells be repaired to increase the supply of water, water supply lined would also be replaced to avoid leaks and the mixing of sewerage with clean water,” he said.
MNA Ali Awan told Dawn that the meeting’s participantssaidthat 28 CDA departments were handed over to the MCI, but the corporation was not performing well.
“In the F-series sectors the MCI has been collecting garbage through its own employees, but garbage from the G and I series is being collected through contractors. Every day, 600 tons of garbage is generated from Islamabad and we have to ensure that it should be done transparently otherwise we could becomeanother example like Karachi,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that the mayor of Islamabad has gone to London and there is no one to streamline the MCI’s issues, because of which the people of the federal capital have been suffering,” he added.
A CDA officer who was not authorised to speak on the record said the garbage collection system in the capital needs to be changed, or residents of the capital would soon face the same difficulties facing residents of Karachi.
“Most residents put garbage in plastic bags and place them outside their gates or lawns at night so they can be collected by the sanitation department in the morning. However, these bags are torn by animals at night, and children who collect paper from garbage also play a role in spreading garbage in the streets.
“A number of residents also through their garbage in nullahs, which will one day be choked completely as there are no arrangements to clean them,” he said.
Road rehabilitation in D-12
Road rehabilitation work that the CDA began in D-12 has saved around 37pc of the authority’s resources, according to a statement issued by the authority.
The statement said the CDA’s carpeting of major roads in the sector is being carried out at a rapid pace.
“CDA is carrying rehabilitation work from its own resources through Machinery Pool Organization (MPO) Directorate. Expected saving is 37pc from the cost which would have been incurred if the carpeting had been done by the contractor. Funds saved from the project would be utilised for other allied works in the sector,” it said.
The CDA chairman said the authority has overcome its financial crisis and has now expedited development work.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2019