A sanitation worker loads trash onto a truck in the Pak Colony area as part of the campaign on Saturday.—Online
A sanitation worker loads trash onto a truck in the Pak Colony area as part of the campaign on Saturday.—Online

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited the metropolis to review the progress of the garbage lifting campaign, called Clean My Karachi, launched by the provincial government on Saturday.

He directed the city administration to remove encroachments beneath flyovers and impose fines on builders throwing debris of their under-construction buildings on streets and take strict action against those throwing trash on streets.

“This habit of throwing garbage and dumping debris on streets will not stop by those who are continuously doing it until and unless heavy fines are imposed on them,” he said.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and members of the provincial cabinet accompanied the chief minister in his visit that lasted for around five hours.

He visited all six districts of the metropolis and was duly received by the chairman of the district municipal corporation (DMC), deputy commissioner (DC) and senior superintendent of police (SSP) concerned.

The CM visits parts of the city along with the mayor to monitor the first day of ‘Clean My Karachi’ campaign

Mr Shah began his visit from Shireen Jinnah Colony, where he ordered the commissioner to ask a builder to remove the debris he had dumped on the road leading to the Ziauddin Hospital.

“If the debris is not removed by tomorrow get construction work on the building stopped and impose a heavy fine,” the CM said.

The street along Aga Khan Lab in Clifton Block-2 did not offer a rosy sight as gutters were overflowing, on which the chief minister asked the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to clear the area before sunrise on Sunday, or else the engineer concerned would face the music.

At Shireen Jinnah Colony, Mr Shah visited the makeshift garbage transfer station (GTS) where waste, lifted from across South district, was being dumped for onward transportation to the designated landfills.

Mr Shah visited Qayyumabad where Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi met him.

A government spokesman said area people chanted slogans in favour of the chief minister and appreciated him for his initiative.

Mr Shah went to Korangi No 1 in T&T Colony where garbage, lifted from different areas, was being dumped at the GTS. He directed the Korangi DC to remove encroachments along main streets and improve the drainage system with the help of the KWSB.

He also visited Korangi Industrial Area before leaving for Sohrab Goth and Jamali Pul areas of Karachi East to visit a temporary GTS set up there.

Heaps of garbage was being removed from Al Azam Square that caused foul smell.

He asked DC East to ensure no trash was thrown on streets and people be given kachra kundis [large garbage bins] to encourage them to throw trash there.

He went to Liaquatabad No 10 where he was received by DMC Central chairman Rehan Hashmi. He witnessed lifting of garbage from Liaquatabad and surrounding areas and went to a ground located behind the grid station. The chief minister asked the DC and DMC chairman to turn the plot into a temporary GTS.

Residents of the area told Mr Shah that they usually burn the trash at which the chief minister asked the administration to take care of it.

Karachi generates 16,000 tonnes garbage daily

Later, speaking to reporters, Mr Shah said the establishment of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) was to help local governments and make use of garbage for generation of electricity and production of urea.

He said the plan was being implemented as establishment of a power plant was on the cards.

He said when SSWMB was established the city was generating 8,000 tonnes of garbage and DMCs used to lift half of it, leaving a huge backlog every day.

“At present, Karachi is generating 16,000 tonnes of garbage and the DMCs working with SSWMB are lifting regular trash, yet the backlog is still there,” he said.

He said when SSWMB and DMCs failed to lift the garbage, particularly the backlog, politics on garbage started in the city “and that was the time I had to intervene”.

He said the drive was vigorous and would continue for a month and the “people will witness the difference”.

About the backlog, CM Shah said that the people had started filing applications against the SSWMB and a Supreme Court-mandated water commission raised a number of questions against its performance and subsequently the provincial government stopped payment of errant contractors.

He said the work of SSWMB was affected badly and further slowed down during the three-month interregnum because of 2018 elections. “All these factors turned the city into a mountain of garbage.”

The chief minister said the federal government in its Clean Karachi drive had dumped only 23,000 tonnes of garbage at the landfill while SSWMB lifted 13,000 tonnes of garbage daily.

Mr Shah said he would visit the city daily to get first-hand account on the progress of the drive. Besides, he added, he had tasked his ministers and the mayor to monitor it as well.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019