Solid waste disposal: Environment tribunal summons CDA members

PIMS had earlier argued the authority is responsible for collecting hospital waste.


Shahzad Anwar May 20, 2015
Garbage is set on fire right outside a school in Islamabad on Wednesday. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD:


The Environmental Tribunal (ET) has issued a summons for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on the complaint of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) regarding the dumping of solid waste in the proximity of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).


Pak-EPA had filed a complaint with the tribunal on May 5 over Pims dumping solid waste in open spaces near the hospital, stating that the unsystematic dumping poses a threat to the health of the children studying at schools nearby.

The tribunal had summoned PIMS on May 19. Pims argued that solid waste management was the responsibility of the municipal government and the CDA should make arrangements to properly dispose solid waste generated at Pims.

Pims representatives also told the tribunal that when the hospital management contacted the CDA to have the waste picked up, the CDA replied that it had outsourced the task to a private contractor. The outsourcing agreement, howeverdid not include collecting waste from inside the hospital.

On this, the EPA appealed to the tribunal that since CDA was also an important stakeholder, it should be summoned. The tribunal then summoned the CDA Environment and Civic Management members to appear in the next hearing on June 5.

The EPA had already filed a complaint with the Environmental Tribunal against the CDA over the dumping of solid waste in an open space in Sector I-12.

“The open dumping is not only decreasing the quality of life for nearby residents and the local communities, but also creating a public nuisance,” a source in the EPA told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.

He maintained that the abandoned piles of household garbage can threaten humans, wildlife and the environment in the area. “The monsoon season is round-the-corner and open dump sites are considered conducive breeding grounding for mosquitoes and flies. They also contaminate the soil and groundwater in addition to streams and other waterways,” he cautioned.

In January, the CDA had announced it would relocate the city’s temporary garbage dump site from Sector I-12 to an unspecified location.

In 2014, the CDA had shifted the dump site from Sector D-12 to Sector I-12 along IJP Road on Supreme Court directions.

The CDA had informed the court in writing that it was in consultation with Pak-EPA to select a suitable permanent landfill site, but since then, it has failed to allot a specific location.

From the late 1980s till 2006, the CDA dumped its municipal waste in Sector H-12, before shifting to Sector H-11. After the Islamabad High Court took notice of the new site in 2010, it was moved to sector I-14.

Later, the site was shifted to sector I-12, and then to sector D-12 in 2013. After the apex court’s intervention, it was again shifted back to Sector I-12. Since its establishment in 1960, the CDA has failed to find a location for a permanent garbage dump.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2015. 

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