KARACHI: Although residents of some areas of the city complained of delay in offal disposal, performance of the local government and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) in collecting offal remained better this Eidul Azha compared to last year.

The SSWMB is the agency under the provincial government which is primarily responsible for managing solid waste in the city. This was the second year the SSWMB carried out cleanliness work during Eidul Azha. Last year, the board had only covered South and East districts. However, this time it entered into agreements with four district municipal corporations (DMCs), including districts West and Malir as well, to collect offal. The other two districts of the city, Korangi and Central, which are led by the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) were not covered by the SSWMB and the respective DMCs were responsible for the collection of solid waste.

However, the administration of districts Korangi and Central complained of not receiving sufficient funds to perform the task due to which offal disposal in those districts was not carried out as effectively as in the other districts.

The six DMCs in the city oversaw the cleanliness work. However, there was lack of coordination among various administrative agencies which troubled the residents of many areas.

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According to a press statement issued by the SSWMB, 31,836 tons of animal entrails were dumped and buried in various landfill sites. As much as 18,879 tons of animal remains were buried in Jam Chakro, 10,311 tons in Gondpass and 2,464 tons in Sharafi Goth.

According to a waste management board spokesperson, the weight of animal entrails was recorded in a computerised system through weighbridges at various locations.

Last year, trenches were dug near Malir River to bury the offal. However, due to the directives of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, some other locations were chosen this time to dig trenches.

According to SSWMB Director Tariq Nizami, four collection points were designated in District Malir that included Hospital Ground near DMC Malir Office, Quaidabad Bridge, Gosht Market and near Bhittaiabad Road. Meanwhile, District Malir’s local bodies were responsible for cleanliness arrangements in rural areas of the district.

In District West, which comprises Orangi and Baldia towns, the SSWMB faced some trouble in collecting offal due to the narrow streets. The board claimed to have arranged wheelbarrows and 10 Suzuki pickups for each union council. Trenches for offal of District West were dug up in Jam Chakro.

However, many residents of Orangi Town complained that it took too long for the authorities to clear offal. “Till late in the night, no one picked up the animal entrails on our streets,” said a resident, Aslam Khan. “By Fajr, a Suzuki van came and cleaned the area.”

More than 400,000 animal entrails were collected from District Central. According to the DMC spokesperson, Alamgir, 90 dumpers and 550 Suzuki vans took part in offal disposal during the three days of Eid.

Apart from the six DMCs, five cantonment boards of the city also managed offal in their respective areas. According to a Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) spokesperson, work continued for offal disposal in the areas of Defence and Clifton for three days. According to the spokesperson, 41 vehicles and over 150 staff members participated in cleanliness work in different shifts and limestone was sprinkled outside houses from where offal was collected. Manure made out of offal will be used in tree plantation in Defence and Clifton, said the spokesperson.

 Avoiding the blame game

Political parties and administrative agencies also generally avoided blaming each other for delay in offal collection over the three days of Eid.

Prior to Eid, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar had accused the Sindh government of not taking him on board regarding the cleaning operation. However, during the Eid days, he issued a statement that said all institutions were helping each other.

The mayor also visited several areas of the city. He claimed that MQM-P representatives along with DMC administration were coordinating for maintaining cleanliness in the city. “It took time for us to lift offal from narrow streets,” he said, adding that the cleaning operation was successfully carried out by night.

Akhtar also did not interfere in the SSWMB operations and refrained from going to those areas where the board was operating.

Cleaning our streets

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani also visited several areas of the city to monitor the cleaning operation. At Lyari’s Kakri Ground, he ordered the relevant authorities to immediately clean up the area that was thronged by offal.

“In Lahore there are animal entrails [on roads], whereas, Karachi seems to be clean,” Ghani remarked.

However, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which has won the highest number of seats from Karachi in the recent general elections, criticised the Sindh government’s cleaning operation. “No measures were taken to dump animal entrails on time,” said PTI leader Khurrum Sher Zaman. He added that the local government minister should have taken some practical steps than making useless visits to different areas.

Complains and cries

Despite efforts by the authorities concerned, there were many areas from where offal was not effectively collected and residents felt helpless. Talking to The Express Tribune, a Federal B Area resident, Faizan Ali, complained that walking in any street in his neighborhood was unbearable due to the putrid stench of rotting offal. He also decried accumulated sewage on the street.

Ali added that despite several complaints, there had been no action by the authorities and in the end all they did was to shift all the offal from a street to its corner and covering it with plastic.

In Lines Area, opposite FTC building, streets reeked of a foul smell as there were extreme delays in lifting offal. “We don’t get it what takes it so long to lift these offal,” said Qamar, resident of the area. “The Suzukis come and dump animal entrails after every 10 minutes, but no one picks it up.”

Behind the Baitul Mukkaram Mosque on University Road, residents had to wear facemasks due to unbearable stench. “We cannot breathe in the vicinity,” said an elderly man, Navaid Iqbal. “The authorities need to speed up their cleaning work.”