Karachi is unfortunately a filthy city. And no assurances of things changing have ever really been fulfilled. The mayor’s 100-day cleanliness drive concluded last Friday but many parts of the city still resemble a large garbage dump. The mayor has cited problems with the Sindh government and its ‘apathetic’ attitude among reasons for failing to clear up Karachi. This has always been Karachi’s fate — no one is ever responsible. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had also taken up the challenge to clean up the mess after he was sworn in, but we are standing at pretty much the same spot as we were months ago. Even the Chinese machinery imported to clean the garbage has not been able to rid us of our troubles.
The mayor has claimed to have lifted one million tonnes of garbage from the backlog already but heaps of garbage supersede that amount. The city is said to produce around 20,000 tonnes of solid waste, with at least 18,000 tonnes of waste burnt in drains and open spaces. Hardly 2,000 tonnes of garbage actually make it out of the city while the remaining keeps piling up on the streets, roads and other open spaces. Piles of garbage also led to the deaths of two children in the city when a fire erupted in a heap of garbage which blocked the narrow alley outside a five-storey building and quickly spread inside, engulfing the family as they slept.
It is time Karachi’s garbage found a solution. The citizens of the city cannot always be the losers caught in between the city’s many stakeholders.
Karachi not only desperately needs to clean its rubbish, but also produce less of it. Awareness programmes need to be initiated by the government to reduce the production of waste. We desperately also need widespread recycling programmes. Karachi’s trash issue is a problem that should be owned by everyone.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2017.