CDA, IMC row marred beauty of capital: Senator

Senate panel on climate change irked by deteriorating state of sanitation in capital


​ Our Correspondent February 22, 2020
Islamabad. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has one of the most beautiful capital cities of the world, but the row between Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) has marred its glory, said Senate Standing Committee for Climate Change Chairperson Senator Sitara Ayaz on Thursday.

The committee members strongly censured IMC over its failure to present a report pertaining to cleanliness of Islamabad and early closure of markets in the federal capital.

Chairing the standing committee’s meeting, Senator Ayaz said the state of cleanliness in markets and streets remains poor while no proper arrangements were made for disposal of waste released from the hospitals.

“The sanitation department is picking garbage from certain areas and improperly dumping it in Sector I-12, which is adversely impacting the environment,” she said according to a statement issued by the Senate Secretariat.

If recycling was not possible, the authorities should at least ensure effective dumping of the garbage, Ayaz said.

The standing committee will present performance report of MCI and CDA in the upper house for a detailed discussion by the senators, the statement said. The committee has summoned Islamabad deputy commissioner, CDA Chairman and Islamabad mayor in its next session, it added.

Meanwhile, during the session, Senator Sherry Rehman maintained that it has been a long time but, “we have failed to ascertain the scope of work for CDA and MCI.” It would be better if the officers and staff concerned for sanitation were suspended and private sector was given the task to ensure cleanliness and disposal of waste in Islamabad.

The sanitation departments have not even determined the garbage dumping site for the federal capital.

The senator said if such was the case for the federal capital, then worse was expected for the other cities. The way environmental pollution was growing in the country calls for immediate measures so as to contain the problem from aggravating.

Senator Rehman further said that the brick kilns around the cities thoroughfares were continuously emitting toxic gases in the air and called for measures to control such emissions.

IMC Cleanliness Director Sardar Khan Zimri told the committee that ensuring timely closure of the markets was the responsibility of the local administration.

On the other side, Ministry of Climate Change Secretary Naheed S Durrani told the committee that she had held several meetings with IMC and had also reviewed the option for outsourcing the sanitation services.

The climate change ministry was fully prepared to support the cause for developing a site for safe and scientific disposal of garbage, but IMC went to court complaining that the ministry was meddling with its affairs, Durrani said.

State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul maintained that the government was trying not to supersede in the affairs of any institution. However, she continued, if officers concerned were not presenting the required report, the committee could take whatsoever decision it desired, she said.

“IMC must apprise us of its capacity to dispose of waste and other problems it faces. The ministry is ready to extend help through UNICEF’s support,” Senator Gul said.

The federal government will build toilets in 30,000 schools across the country and preference will be given to girls schools, she said. Whereas in Islamabad, Gul said, 300 toilets were being constructed in public schools presently.

Regarding pollution caused by the brick kilns, the state minister said that steps were being taken to transfer this sector to zigzag technology.

The federal government would provide financial and technical support to 20,000 brick kilns for conversion.

Punjab has come up with encouraging results in this regard while work is also being undertaken in Sindh.

While forced conversion remains a controversial issue, converting brick kilns from traditional to zig-zag technology could not be forced too. “We cannot deprive the people from their livelihood by instantly banning all brick kilns,” Gul said.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that a sub-committee formed under his chair had prepared a detailed report on slum areas, drains and dumping sites of Islamabad.

He said the Senate Standing Committee for Climate Change could review and implement the the recommendation in the report.

Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo maintained that a sub-committee pertaining to smoke emissions from vehicles has prepared a bill, on which detailed discussion has also been held with the minister for climate change. The bill’s scope currently extends to Islamabad and later, it could be expanded to provinces too. To this, the state minister said that the bill could not be reviewed properly due to surgery of Environment Protection Agency director general. The bill, she said, had some language errors.

Those who attended Friday’s session of the committee included senators Sherry Rehman, Muhammad Asad Khan Junejo, Pervez Rasheed, Sana Jamali and Mushahid Hussain Syed as well as climate change minister Zartaj Gul, secretary climate change, DG EPA and director sanitation for MCI and other officials.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2020.

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