The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has been postponing the implementation of a scientific waste disposal project now for a long time as a result of which Islamabad, the nation’s capital, is fast joining the league of the country’s most polluted cities. Though the system of garbage collection through the CDA’s sanitary staff is better than other cities, the absence of an overall waste disposal system has neutralised its benefits. The city’s garbage is dumped in streams and drains running through the most densely populated sectors. The stench and foul smells of rotting garbage in summer heat makes the atmosphere nauseating robbing the city of its visual beauty. Now at last the civic agency has decided to take measures to provide for a sustainable solution to the problem.
The plan visualizes the conversion of waste into energy through biomass conversion technology. This would help lessen the energy crisis in the city.
The waste disposal project is a public-private collaboration which it is conducting with the Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF). Proposals have been invited for conducting solid waste management study. After that, the two bodies will establish a waste-to-energy recovery plant in Islamabad.
Established under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984, IPDF is a company which works under the direct supervision of the finance ministry.
The consultant will be responsible for conducting solid waste management study for every sector across the capital. The main objective of the study is to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing system and practices along with waste characterisation. Based on the findings, the consultant will suggest the most optimal waste disposal methodology, which is in line with global practices. Moreover, the best possible location will also be decided for the project on the basis of the report.
It is hoped that the CDA will now move with urgency to compensate for the time it has wasted on carrying out the waste disposal plan. The surveys, data collection, compilation and analysis will have to be completed in six weeks.
The main features of the project are: establishment of a modern landfill site with all safeguards for disposal of waste, establishment of a compost fertilizer plant or a waste-to-energy recovery and a modern incineration plant for treatment of hazardous waste.
The civic agency also plans to launch a public awareness campaign for the education and awareness of the masses to ensure the success of the integrated waste management system for the capital city.
A CDA spokesperson confirming the development told The Express Tribune that to address the current and future problems related to solid waste management in the city, CDA in collaboration with IPDF has conceived a modern Municipal Solid Waste Management Project.
The civic agency conceded in its invitation letter for the proposal that with a growing population like the other major cities of Pakistan, Islamabad also faces an urban problem of inadequate solid waste management.
An official of IPDF explained that the urban waste can be used in a number of ways composting, residual drive fuel and waste to energy conversion purposes. “Such effective disposal of waste may definitely result into generation of reliable revenue stream. This may increase the technical and financial viability of the project,” he said. In this regard fertilizer and cement industries may prove to be consistent customers of urban waste, he added.
The spokesperson from IPDF said that globally cities and municipalities are devising innovative methods and using modern technology for integrated solid waste management.
The issue of waste management has been a long-standing one for the city administration. “Due to the frailty of the current system and lack of a proper waste disposal mechanism and no sites for safely dumping city garbage it is high time we started taking measures,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.