KARACHI: A day after the Sindh government imposed a ban on littering, spitting and throwing the debris in public places under Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code, police claimed to have booked six persons for open littering on Thursday.
The first FIR was registered by the Sukhan Police against a citizen for throwing garbage on the road. The other five persons were arrested by the Korangi Industrial Area Police for dumping garbage at an illegal dumping station. Police also claimed to have seized a truck and two Suzuki pickups from their possession, while charging them under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Sindh govt bans spitting, littering in public
Clean My Karachi
Earlier this week, the provincial government announced its plan to rid Karachi of the garbage backlog and ensure that there is no litter on the roads.
Speaking to The Express Tribune in this regard, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Law and Environment Barrister Murtaza Wahab said, “We are hopeful that we will be able to clear the city of the garbage backlog within 30 days, after which, the district municipal corporations and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board will be tasked with maintaining the cleanliness.”
Wahab added that all deputy commissioners and SSPs have been directed to implement the ban on open littering under Section 144 to deter people from throwing their garbage in the open. “We can clean the areas now, but people will start throwing their trash in the open again,” said Wahab, adding that they were considering imposing penalties on citizens found to be violating the ban. “But all this is a temporary arrangement until we remove the years-old garbage and hand over the affairs to the municipal bodies,” he said. “During the last five days, we have collected over 138,000 tonnes of garbage,” the CM’s adviser told The Express Tribune.
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For his part, the local government secretary, Roshan Ali Shaikh who has recently been assigned the task to supervise the cleanliness drive, said that they have devised a mechanism to meet the targets.
“The debris of under-construction buildings contributes 30 to 40 per cent of the total garbage in the city,” he told The Express Tribune. “We have met officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority and asked them to stop builders from throwing debris on the roads.”
The secretary added that they would issue notices to those who violate the orders and will impose penalties, or even arrest them and seal their under-construction buildings. “For the first time, we are going to form Mohalla committees at the union council and street level, comprising elected representatives, citizens and political activists to ensure the cleanliness in their respective areas.”
He added that the government has fixed 30 days as the deadline for removing the backlog and will facilitate the Solid Waste Management Board and DMCs to continue their operation in the future.
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Question of sustainability
Urban planners and various stakeholders have, however, expressed dismay over the politics of garbage lifting in the city following the differences that surfaced between the Sindh government, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the federal government.
“The federal government’s two-week campaign could not see the light of day,” lamented Zahid Farooq, the joint director of the Urban Resource Center. “Nothing will happen until and unless the UCs are empowered with resources to deal with this issue. People have become habitual of throwing garbage in the open. How many would be punished by registering FIRs?” he questioned, adding that after collecting garbage from various areas, the government is dumping the same at the ‘Garbage Transfer Sites’ known as GTS, which is located in densely-populated areas.
“I live in Paharganj area of North Nazimabad where the government has set up a GTS where a mountain of trash can be seen. Every other day, burning garbage causes serious health problems. How one can see the change in this case?” he questioned.
The LG secretary said, however, that they plan to transport the garbage from the GTSs to landfill sites soon. “Please forget the past,” he requested. “We are now planning to sustain our campaign and make it successful,” he said, adding that he has held meetings with officials of cantonment boards, Port Qasim, KPT, Railways, Bahria Town and various societies to discuss ways of transferring their garbage to landfill sites. “We have clearly warned them not to throw their garbage in open spaces, otherwise the drivers will be arrested and their vehicles confiscated,” said Sheikh.
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On the other hand, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who has been visiting various areas to monitor the ongoing drive, said that his administration is replacing the old dustbins with new ones and around 176 have been placed in District South.
The CM directed all SSPs to work with the respective deputy commissioners and arrest the miscreants stuffing stones and boulders in manholes and stealing dustbins. “I am determined to make this city clean once for all and will not allow anyone to create problems,” he warned.
Ban on plastic bags
Besides, the Sindh government has also decided to enforce the ban on plastic bags from October 1. In this connection, the government will initially ban non-biodegradable bags.
“Unlike the federal government, we have decided to ban those bags, which don’t degrade in the open environment,” said Wahab, who happens to be the CM’s adviser on environment. “I have held meetings with the plastic manufacturers’ associations and they have agreed to cooperate with the government and make environment-friendly biodegradable bags,” he said, adding that the government would also start an awareness campaign to educate people about the hazardous effects of plastic bags.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2019.
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