Karachi stays bottom of the barrel on 2 global lists

Published: August 15, 2012
Both lists were prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN / FILE

Both lists were prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN / FILE

KARACHI: As if things weren’t bad enough, Karachi has been given extremely poor ratings on two key lists: It’s the 7th least livable city in the world out of 140 and on the bottom of the 22-city Asian Green City index. 

Both lists were prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Singapore topped the green city index for Asian cities and Melbourne was rated as the most livable city in terms of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. With target killing more stable than Karachi’s local government system, any of its residents would tell you that the EIU got it right.

Karachi came in 135 out of 140 cities on the livability rating. It scored 40.9 out of 100 as an overall rating. It scored 20 for stability, 45.8 for healthcare, 38.7 for culture and environment, 66.7 for education and 51.8 for infrastructure.

The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1-100, where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal.

Algiers, Harare, Lagos, Port Moresby and Dhaka were the only cities that did worse than Karachi.

“Conflict is responsible for many of the lowest scores,” said the report, but went on to acknowledge that, “Global business centres tend to be victims of their own success. The ‘big city buzz’ they enjoy can overstretch infrastructure and cause higher crime rates. New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are all prestigious hubs with a wealth of recreational activity, but all suffer from higher levels of crime.”

Karachi could learn a few things from the system in Vienna where only 18 murders were reported in 2010. The difference is that Vienna is a city of only 1.7 million people and Karachi 18 million. These figures compare with a US average of 4.8 homicides per 100,000 people (2010).

Earlier in the year, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s worldwide cost of living survey placed Karachi as one of the cheapest cities in the world to live in. Small consolation in that, most people would say.

It should be small wonder that Karachi is doing so poorly. Since 2009 its two key political parties have failed to agree on which kind of local government system they want. Indeed, around the time the EIU report was released the two political parties entered a deadlock on whether the new district government system could have control of revenue with the mayor running the police. These two lucrative departments are the lifeblood of Karachi and thus rotten to the core with corruption.

When Karachi’s politicians are not at the negotiating table, their thugs on the street have been engaged in a turf war whose victories are measured by the body count. In the meantime, the city of 18 million people has had no elected mayor for three years. No local government elections are seen on the horizon; in fact the general elections may take place sooner next year.

Not green at all

Karachi was also graded as ‘well below average’ (read bottom of the list) on the Asian Green City Index of 22 cities prepared by the EIU in collaboration with Siemens.

In this region, Singapore was graded as well above average and Mumbai below average. The index covers over 120 global centres and measures 30 key indicators such as Co2 emissions, energy, buildings, land use, transport, water, waste, air quality. Official data is used but the index acknowledges difficulties in gathering data, which is why the EIU made statistical estimates to fill the gaps.

More than 20 global experts helped. They included Cambridge University, Harvard University, and UN-Habitat.

While details on Karachi are not provided, the spotlight was shed on Delhi as an example of a “poor” city that has still achieved an overall average rating, higher than Karachi’s. Delhi has one of the lowest per capita GDP levels in the 22 Asian cities at an estimated US$2,000. However, it has done well as it generates the least amount of waste, 147kg per capita, in the index. “This is in part because of what has been called Delhi’s ‘traditional culture of careful consumption’,” said the report. The city has a tendency to re-use and recycle as much as possible. Delhi’s government has, however, capitalized on this and used policy to its advantage in this area.

In contrast, each household in Karachi is said to produce about 2.5kg of waste a day and the city has only 12,000 garbage collectors. The city generates 9,000 tons of waste a day and only half of it is picked up (on a good day); 2,000 tons of the 4,500 make it to a landfill site.

Singapore is the best in the waste category as it generates only 307kg per person per year. The government has set a target of recycling 63% by 2020 up from 56% in 2008. Households receive from the government bags and bins, which encouraged them to take part.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • afzal
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Karachi rulers should look into this report as this what they had provided to the city since they came in power. Recommend

  • Ron
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:42PM

    This report should be thrown in the faces of our so-called “leaders” so that they know even the world is aware of how Karachi has turned from a cosmopolitan, liberal hub to a fanatic, overly-religious, dirty, corrupt city.


  • MAK
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:43PM

    and you people call is city of lights,, funny,


  • Raw is War.
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:51PM

    who is surprised?


  • Aug 15, 2012 - 1:51PM

    MAK, that is because we don’t have much loadshedding. Every other aspect of this city is terrible.


  • Faraz
    Aug 15, 2012 - 3:50PM

    And ignorant people who have no idea of the world outside think the one main political party is vital to Karachi’s lifeline and has been doing a great job!! What great job? they couldn’t even make Karachi secure, let alone develop it. Building a few bridges here and there, paving a few roads does not mean anything and our people have such low expectations that they praise that, too as something great being done.


  • Rostanarak
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:03PM

    The day is not far when Karachi will feature the lowest in everything that is good, and highest in everything bad and criminal. Such a shame for Karachi and Karachiites.


  • maz3tt
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:05PM

    this will be the usual reply by lets say sharmila farooqi ‘this is the conspiracy against us’Recommend

  • Lobster
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:41PM

    MQM is in government for 15 years now, we should vote them out in next election.


  • maheen shaikh
    Aug 15, 2012 - 5:31PM

    Karachi once again ranked as World’s most cheapest city for expatriates, maintaining last year’s position while Tokyo has regained its unenviable title of the world’s most expensive city according to a survey by the Mercer group, with living costs around three times cheaper than in the Japanese capital.

    Earlier in February Karachi had been ranked the cheapest city in the world, for the second year running, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal. Pakistan’s biggest city and the financial capital landed up at the bottom of the index for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s world-wide cost-of-living survey .. !! —.


  • ali
    Aug 15, 2012 - 5:45PM

    Where is the best mayor of the world MK…haha


  • Nand Lal Jethani
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:06PM

    Its a bad news, infact Karachi is the only one city of Pakistan that came in international ranking and now its drowning down just because of irresponsible attitude of our rulers and the opposition all inclusive.
    The city is lacking the true public administration that was hallmark of its development just a few years ago.
    Karachi is still a city of light and destroying Karachi is destroying Pakistan. So we should do our efforts to make its ranking improve.


  • hassan akbar
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:23PM

    Can someone tell me which industry makes karachi the richest city in the country?


  • antanu g
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:55PM

    no where in the article it is mentioned ss ovetly religious…dirty…and so on.Recommend

  • Liberal
    Aug 15, 2012 - 7:02PM

    This is all because of the Islamist policies of General Zia. This report is an evidence that corruption is not our main problem, fundamentalism is. If we give MQM, ANP, and PPP some more time, they will make this an ideal city to live.


  • Karachiite
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:02PM

    political parties like MQM, ANP, and PPP ARE themselves the actual problem.. They are involved in illegal encroachment,extortion and target killings. So hoping that they will ‘turn this into a “ideal city’ is like living in fool’s paradise.

    They have been in power so almost 5 years now and MQM have been continuously enjoying absolute power for almost a decade but this city continues its downhill journey.. Is it really that hard to figure out who is responsible?Recommend

  • Ehsan Khan
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Where do Islamabad and Lahore stand, if they are included in the list?


  • Ash
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:07PM

    Karachi was improving and there was peace and prosperity during Mustafa Kamal era. Even renowned World Organizations praised the way MK developed the city. Since LB were dissolved, this corrupt PPP government has done nothing than funding its Liyari terrorists. PPP and other parties have no stake in Karachi and this is why they don’t care for the city or its dwellers. People of Karachi can only pray that MQM win LB elections again so we bring our city back on track.


  • Farheen
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:10PM

    It was in 2008 when karachi was declared as the most business friendly city and one of the cheapest mega city in world..which was all during the tenure of Mustafa Kamal as mayor and Waseem Akhtar as Home Minster. Now reading these rating PPP should be answerable to this. What they have done to karachi?


  • DevilHunterX
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:40PM

    Any proof to your claims?


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:07PM

    To bring Karachi in the most wanted city to live in, there are two basic things to do:

    (1) Complete control on law and order situation;

    (2) Eradicate Taliban completely

    (3) Make Karachi a free port city.

    Millions of people from around the world would like to come and settle in Karachi.

    Moreover, it will leave Dubai behind from the point scoring.

    Hotel’s will be running on 100% occupancy.

    Foreign investments from all over the world will start pouring in.

    Every unemployed youth will get the employment.

    Per capita income of Karachites will increase by manifolds.

    Economic stability will be guaranteed.

    Tourist will start booking their flights to Karachi for site seeing.


  • Karachiite
    Aug 15, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Mohammad Ali Siddiqui

    To turn Karachi into Dubai you would first need rules and regulations of Dubai implemented here. That includes banning Political parties who patronize criminals and use them to make lives of citizens,traders and business community miserable. Unless strict no nonsense rules are not implemented here Karachi can’t be turned into Dubai..!Recommend

  • B+
    Aug 16, 2012 - 12:34AM

    We want Mustafa Kamal back…..


  • Aug 16, 2012 - 2:21AM

    Mr Mohammad Ali Siddiqui. You want to see million of foreigners to settle here in order to declare Karachi as Free Port. This is totally wrong. Banning political parties patronizing target killings in not easy job as they are working on the style of mafias of Italy which are stronger than any government.Recommend

  • Aug 16, 2012 - 5:40AM

    Doesn’t this news item tell you why? http://tribune.com.pk/story/422774/settling-scores-taliban-on-a-killing-spree-in-karachi/#comment-862452

    Dear Pakistan – Identify the real culprits to plug them. When you blame everything on MQM, the people destroying Karachi get more power and will to ruin as you are actually saving them from being attended to condemn.


  • Saman Jafri
    Aug 16, 2012 - 8:02AM

    Gone are the golden days of Karachi when it was -the fastest growing city in terms of business development , infrastructure and the one providing for all as the most affordable metropolis in terms of cost of living- just 4 years down the lane we see now Karachi being listed as the least livable city! PPP’s democracy really is turning out to be the best revenge!!


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