Capital to get more wetlands

Trees will be planted around the projects to counter air pollution

Our Correspondent October 26, 2020


The civic authority of the federal capital has started work on three additional wetland projects in the city which are expected to be completed in six weeks.

This was disclosed on Sunday by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Chief Commissioner Aamer Ali Ahmed as he visited the proposed sites of these wetlands.

Ahmed said that work on the construction of these three wetland projects, at three different sites across the city, has started. The first wetlands, he said, will be built at Saidpur and will be completed in 15 days.

The second wetland project is being built on the stream passing through the Rose and Jasmine Garden, next to the Islamabad Sports Complex over 12 kanals of land. It will treat the sewage from Sectors G-6, F-6, and adjoining areas, Ahmed said.

The third wetland is being built at the central green belt between Sector F-11 and Sector E-11.

Moreover, a wetland pond is being constructed to help control and treat the sewage coming from old Golra, Sectors F-10, G-10, and other areas. This pond will also help separate solid waste from the water, thereby resolving issues such as the smell of waste.

After being purified in the wetlands, around 70 per cent of the wastewater will go back to the different nullahs.

All the three wetlands are expected to be completed within 45 days. After completing these projects, trees will be planted in their surroundings to counter the impact of air pollution.

Ahmed directed to expedite the construction process.

Earlier in June, the CDA had built three wetlands treatment systems to use natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils, and their associated system for the treatment of wastewater.

Following instructions from the Supreme Court, these wetlands were built on natural streams and storm drains in Muslim Colony, Bari Imam and Bani Gala at a meagre cost of just Rs1.5 million.

Work on the construction of the wetlands had initially commenced in September 2019 but it faced delays due to unidentified reasons. While three wetlands were completed in June, work on the fourth, the one in the Rose and Jasmine Garden stalled.

After the monsoon season and the annual drive to clean storm drains ended in August, the CDA had announced to build additional wetlands in Sector F-11/E-11 and Saidpur.

Consultant hired for STPs

To install three Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in the federal capital, the CDA has hired an international consultant.

The consultant, CDA Sanitation Director Sardar Zimri said, will finalise a feasibility report prepared by a local company for the construction of the STP in Bani Gala. The sanitation director said that the international consultant has been directed to submit its final feasibility within a month.

Initially, he said, CDA planned to set up one STP in Bani Gala on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode - where the contractor would build the project on their own.

The remaining two STPs, to be built in Shahdara and at the Simly Dam, will be established after examining the credibility of Bani Gala's STP, he said.

Meanwhile, a CDA official said the idea of setting up four STPs on the outskirts of the federal capital was first floated by the CDA in 2012, and that they were estimated to cost around Rs2 billion to build at the time.

The initial project concept-I (PC-I) encompassed four STPs including two for Shahdara, one for Simly Dam and one for Bari Imam. Later, the PC-I was revised and a new plan was evolved to set up three STPs by combining the two proposed facilities at Shahdara.

However, the project remained in limbo for several years until the SC directed to build the plants after it took suo moto notice of the polluted water and effluents being dumped into the Korang Nullah which then emptied into the Rawal Lake.

The CDA chief, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and the Islamabad commissioner were directed by SC to install the plants.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2020.


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