Only one-third of the 90 tonnes of garbage produced in Peshawar is disposed every day, while the rest accumulates in 140 dumps around the city, spreading fumes and increasing disease.
Residents of Peshawar are facing awful civic conditions due to a lack of water and a proper sanitation system. Urban areas also lack the necessary mechanism of disposing waste material.
The situation worsens when it rains, clogging the faulty sewerage and turning roads into rivers.
Peshawar is administratively divided into 92 union councils and four towns. Officials complained about insufficient funding, understaffing and outdated machinery. Corruption within the staff also contributes to the lack of cleanliness in the city.
Some of the worse affected areas where garbage and sanitation issues exist includes Shaikabad, Gulbhar, Ganggate, Kohati, Bhanamari, Kakshal, Tehkal and Charsadda road.
The Express Tribune found in its investigation that the state of corruption in the civic body, often referred to as Dabba Mulazimeen or proxy attendance, is widespread. The practice involves the clerk or the municipal inspector registering a staffer’s attendance, allowing the employee to collect a salary without actually showing up for work. In return, the clerk or the inspector gets a share of the employee’s salary.
The district coordination officer froze the salaries of 189 staffers because of their absence from work. However, hundreds of other employees engaged in the practice remain on the government payroll.
The previous government had imported machinery from China but they remain out of service due to lack of maintenance.
The situation is worst in Town-I, which covers the walled city and the adjacent low-lying areas. The town consists of 25 union councils and is the most populated area.
More than 3,000 employees, including 758 cleaners, 215 sewerage line workers, and more than 46 garbage collectors work in the town. It also suffers from corruption due to high absentee rates among staffers.
Out of the 85 dumps installed, 15 are broken while the rest lack maintenance. Large piles of filth remain there for weeks, and residents add to the garbage by disposing it in public spaces.
The provincial government claims it is pursuing multimillion projects to resolve sanitation issues, including the Municipal Service Delivery Project with the assistance of USAID. An official familiar with the matter said that USAID has provided $86 million.
Sutra Juwand (clean life), another similar project, also awaits for final approval by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister. Sources said that the commissioner of Peshawar, Tariq Jamil, would be the acting managing director of the project.
However, little has been done in the past four and half years by the Awami National Party-led government.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2012.
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