KARACHI: A putrid stench lingers in the air due to piles of rotting garbage, causing residents to don surgical masks, shielding their mouths and noses from the foul odour.
This is the scene in one of Karachi's most affluent areas - Clifton. A street in the locality's Block 9, adjacent to Submarine Chowk, has become a dumping ground for the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC).
When The Express Tribune visited the area, a Suzuki pickup was already parked and men garbed in t-shirts emblazoned with the CBC logo were unloading mounds of garbage.
"Garbage is brought here every day but later we shift it to our main garbage disposal site," claimed the driver of the vehicle, who reluctantly identified himself as Nadeem.
The street and rainwater drain were covered in garbage, a sure-fire way to flood the streets in the monsoon. This particular street has been sealed off with concrete barricades, around which even more trash has accumulated. The street is home to several residential complexes - both apartments and town houses - such as Bath View Apartments, Seafield Apartments and Shangrilla Cooperative Housing Society.
According to Dr Nauman Ansari, a resident of Shangrilla Cooperative Housing Society, two days ago, the garbage was lying right in front of the main gate of the complex, even though the place where the CBC dumps the trash is at a distance from their gate. He criticised that their street has been converted into a temporary garbage transfer station.
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Dr Ansari said that even though the area is home to many VIPs and considered a 'posh' locality, the situation is terrible. He shuddered to think about the situation in the less posh areas. We residents complain about the situation to the CBC, who clean the area and rid it of garbage, but this is a temporary solution, as within a few days the now familiar stench of decaying garbage is back again, he said.
Muhammad Nadeem, a resident of Seafield Apartments, said that even though they pay their taxes regularly, this is what they get in return. The condition is unhygienic and our children cannot even play outside in the evening, he lamented, adding that it is embarrassing for residents who have guests over as their visitors have to park near piles of garbage.
According to the local MPA, Khurrum Sher Zaman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, he has complained to the CBC about garbage. He said due to this, the situation is currently better than usual but garbage should not be dumped in residential areas.
CBC spokesperson Amir Arab said the area was merely a temporary garbage dumping site. However, he did say they have asked their workers to remove trash from the area immediately. The CBC has always tried its best to present itself as the most competent civic agency, therefore immediate action is always taken after such complaints are lodged, claimed Arab.
Urban Resource Centre Director Zahid Farooq told The Express Tribune that while there is a concept of garbage transfer stations throughout the world, these should definitely not be situated in residential areas as they pose hazards to both the environment and human health.
He said that municipal authorities should try to take the garbage directly to the landfill sites instead of keeping it in residential areas.
[brid video="139108" player="7247" title="CBC turns Clifton's Block 9 into garbage dump "]
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