Dumping garbage: Civic agency as clueless as citizens

Lack of a long-term solution to dumping garbage continues to be a thorn in the side of the ‘planned-city’.

Azam Khan August 18, 2011


While reminding the residents of their civic responsibility of cleanliness, the capital’s civic agency boss on Tuesday warned them of stern action if they threw trash and litter in open spaces and streets. Littering in Islamabad is a crime under clause 5(29) of CDA Environment Protection Regulation 2008 and violators can be fined from Rs50 to Rs300 on the spot.

“We want to make Islamabad beautiful like other capital cities of the world,” Chairman Imtiaz Enayat Ilahi said while speaking at a briefing session on the much-publicised “anti-litter” campaign that the civic agency launched in April. The civic agency does not want citizens to litter around and dump rubbish on streets, roads, greenbelts, business and recreational places and exhorts them through banners displayed in every nook and corner to “make the city litter-free”.

Ironically the CDA bosses themselves are oblivious of their prime responsibility. The authority has no dumping site and its inadequate waste lifting system. One can find rubbish in open plots and spaces in residential areas, parks and near educational institutes.

Being the only planned and beautiful city in the country, Islamabad, even after 50 years of its establishment, today does not have a garbage dumping site. CDA shifted the temporary dumping site from H-12 to I-14, but it has not put in place a permanent solution to this problem. Its waste carrying trucks unload garbage in rural areas, polluting the environment.

To make the situation worse, the civic agency has now started taking inspiration from its sister city -- Rawalpindi. The civic agency has started turning the educational institutions and sites of public amenities into dumping sites. This is a common sight in Rawalpindi but now students and teachers from Islamabad are suffering from the same problem.

Around 1,700 units of garbage collection have been established across the city mostly near schools, parks, mosques and low-laying residential areas.

Director Sanitation Directorate Captain Faiz, when contacted, said that primary collection units of garbage were not placed near sites of public amenities deliberately.

“Our sanitation workers collect garbage from 1,500 trolleys and 150 skips (large size trolleys) which are placed at different places randomly,” he said.

Islamabad generates over 800 tons garbage daily. The authority spends over Rs300 million every year on taking care of the capital’s waste. Additionally it has been spending money on purchasing vehicles, rubbish bins, trolleys and other items required by the sanitation staff.

CDA Chairman, Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, said that the civic agency has an excellent system for collection of the waste but we are facing disposal problem. He said that CDA is weighing different options to dispose of the waste, which also includes waste-to-energy projects.

The issue also drew the attention of lawmakers recently, when the Prime Minister office in a reply to the National Assembly recently also conceded that disposal of garbage is a major issue.

The lower house of the parliament was informed that an agreement for the disposal of garbage was made with the Fauji Cement in the year 2008, which has installed a waste disposal plant at their plant site near Jhand village in Fateh Jhang, Attock District. The plant processes the solid waste to generate fuel to run the plant. The technology is known as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), the reply stated.

As per the agreement, CDA transports the garbage up to the green-belt between sectors I-14 and I-15. Here the company segregates the material and takes it to its company. Surprisingly, an official added, the remaining garbage is covered with mud in the same sector. “If the land is not developed it is certainly not a healthy practice nor advisable to dump garbage like that over there,” he added.

Even the government is aware of the problem, as the reply from the PM secretariat stated, “Previously the garbage was being disposed of in the deep ditches covered with soil, but it was an unhygienic and undesirable practice.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.


Wally | 11 years ago | Reply

Sir, your misleading the public and implies that no garbage is collected in Islamabad as "one can find rubbish in open plots". There is a dumping ground in I-14 sector as you said. What is lacking is a disposal system AFTER it is dumped in I-14 by the CDA garbage dumping crew.This is an issue in many developed cities in the world and not just something that we deal with in Islamabad.

On the other hand recent initiatives by the CDA including the anti littering drive have proven to be excellent in trying to clean up our markets. Garbage bins have been placed in major markets for the first time and cleaning staff is regularly visible. Major outdoor restaurant areas are now much cleaner than before.

We should give credit where it is due and appreciate the efforts taken by our civic authorities. All the problems of our city cannot be cured in a night, we should appreciate the efforts that are being taken to get there.

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