ISLAMABAD: Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz on Monday told a Senate panel that the issue of properly disposing of garbage in the federal capital was on the cusp of being resolved as consensus has been evolved on building a landfill on a proposed site near Sangjiani.
"The issue will be resolved in 1-2 weeks as frequent meetings have been going on in the Ministry of Climate Change over the issue,” the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Mayor Aziz told the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Monday.
“All necessary arrangements have been finalised and we are also working to collaborate with private partners in this project," the mayor added.
Chaired by Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Sitara Ayaz, the Senate committee reviewed garbage disposal in the slums of the federal capital and issues pertaining to industrial waste and air pollution caused by industries in the city.
Mayor Aziz further elaborated that the tender, which will be issued for solid waste management in the federal capital, will be for the entirety of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), including its rural and urban areas.
The committee chair regretted the litter by hikers on the scenic Trail-5 in the Margalla Hills. She lamented that people from well-off and educated backgrounds who visit the national park are the ones who show this shameful and discouraging behaviour.
Addressing her concerns, Mayor Aziz said that they regularly hold sessions to sensitise the public about the nuisance of littering.
“We have approved a Rs5,000 fine on car washing by citizens wasting water in the federal capital,” he added.
CDA Sanitation Director Sardar Khan Zimri told the committee that they have started placing dumpsters in the slums of Sectors G-7 and F-7/4 for proper disposal of waste.
"Residents of Sector G-7 slums are not cooperating with CDA whereas the authority has issued 40 notices to area residents for violating rules and openly throwing garbage in the area," he added.
Talking about current landfill options, Zimri said that a dumping site in Sector I-12 was being used for this purpose. He added that they have cleaned Sector G-6 and were working on Sectors G-7 and F-7 and that they have planned to tackle the slums in Sector G-8 next.
“Prior to this, various other proposals for a landfill site failed due to lack of funds,” he said.
The major issue, Zimri identified, was a dearth of machinery.
“Around 25 per cent of the population dumps their garbage in the storm drains," Zimri lamented.
"The CDA team has disposed of 500 tonnes of garbage from Tarnol this weekend and all officials gave up their off days for this clean-up operation,” he said, adding that last week the same intervention was carried out in Tramri Chowk and its immediate vicinity.
The CDA sanitation director added that challans have been sent to the ICT Magistrate who is supposed to take stringent action against violators and ensure the imposition of the fines.
To a question by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Senator Faisal Javed regarding littering in the Faisal Mosque by tourists, Zimri said, "We have tried to fine the violators on the spot to stop this activity but tourists rigorously resisted to our initiative and consequently we backed out from the drive."
The committee recommended taking Ulema on board for launching a cleanliness drive as they could effectively apprise the public on its importance and help infuse a sense of responsibility amongst the public to ensure a clean environment.
The move was endorsed by the Mayor.
Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Director General Farzana Altaf Shah gave a detailed briefing to the committee on industrial waste and air pollution by industries in the federal capital.
She said that a pollution and area-wise concentration of ambient pollutants survey of the Sector I-9 industrial zone and the Kahuta Industrial triangle had been carried out and its report will be launched soon.
"Steel furnaces of Sector I-9 sector have been explicitly jeopardizing public health and environment,” she said, adding, “In January 2018, particulate matter concentrations of 2.5 macrons rose to 110 microgrammes per cubic metres, which was far beyond the permissible limits of 35 microgrammes per cubic metres.
The situation continued until February 2018, when air reverse technology and dry scrubbers were installed in the steel units, she said.
"Steel furnaces of the federal capital are about to export 5 tonnes of fine quality black carbon from May 1, which has made the dangerous ambient pollutant a source of income," she stated, noting the turnaround by the local industry.
Shah further told the committee that private hospitals in the federal capital have no incinerator since they claim it was economically unfeasible to place separate incinerators in every private hospital.
"We have been mandated to place a centralised hospital waste incinerating facility in the federal capital and the CDA and IMC have been taken on board," she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2019.