KARACHI, Jan 27: Both the existing landfill sites situated at Surjani Town’s Jam Chakhro and Deh Gondal Pass, near the Northern Bypass, are fast reaching saturation point because hardly 25 per cent of the garbage dumped there daily is taken out for recycling purposes by scavengers, while the remaining 75 per cent continues to pile up, it was learnt recently.

However, to overcome this problem the Chinese firm with whom the city government has made an agreement for lifting and disposing the entire solid waste produced in the city, might select another huge site for setting up a third landfill, most probably in Dhabeji, sources said.

Asked why the Chinese firm had not yet begun its work, although according to initial official announcements it was scheduled to start lifting and disposing of the city’s solid waste in January, the sources said that the firm’s officials are nowadays busy in undertaking different surveys concerning solid waste management while their fully-fledged operations were now likely to commence in April.

Giving the details of the solid waste produced in the city daily, the sources said that as against the previous calculation of 8,000 tons, the Chinese firm has now estimated that the city produces around 10,000 tons of solid waste daily. Out of this, hardly 4,000 tons is lifted from the city and dumped at both landfill sites daily, while the leftover garbage is scattered by scavengers, posing serious health hazards to the citizens, besides giving the city a dirty look.

Polythene bags

Admitting that the city government’s drive against the sale of polythene bags could not produce the desired results, the sources said that since the sale of polythene bags was continuing unchecked and unabated, there is a high percentage of polythene bags in the garbage, which remain littered on streets and roadsides.

Describing the polythene bags, especially the thin and lightweight ones, as a major environmental hazard, a fellow of the University of Karachi’s Institute of Environmental Studies, Syed Sadruddin Hussain, in his thesis report has said that the problem of environmental pollution is mainly caused by small-sized, lightweight polythene bags.

“Such bags can hardly withstand any weight or pressure and scavengers tear up the garbage bags thrown out on the streets by people and sweepers as they collect only paper, glass, wood, metal and other solid waste, leaving the other refuse scattered on the roadsides,” he said, adding that scavengers did not collect the small-sized and lightweight polythene bags as they are not economically viable.

Elaborating, he said that since the bags are generally not collected by scavengers for recycling, they remain littered, drift with the wind and get trapped in the wheels of moving vehicles. “One could even see these polythene bags gliding in the air, entangled with telephone and electric cables and trees,” he added.

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