‘Civic bodies failed to meet solid waste management challenge’

KARACHI: Civic organizations have failed to meet the demand of solid waste management in the city despite spending Rs3.5 billion a year on it. Not more than half of 12,000 tons solid waste a day could be dumped on the only two existing land fill sites (Jamchakro and Gondpass) in the city, said Managing Director Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) Roshan Ali Sheikh on Thursday.

“Every process of solid waste management has been marred with corruption,” he said while addressing as a keynote speaker during Multi Stakeholder Consultation Seminar on Karachi Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan at Federation House.

He said six tons infectious solid waste came from hospitals which needed treatment before dumping, however no scientific process was exercised in the whole process of waste management as the two incinerators Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had for medical hazardous waste were out of order.

Sheikh said SSWMB was established through an Act in 2013 realizing the growing need of such organization which could devise and pursue new and sustainable strategies for all segments of waste generated in entire Sindh.

“All the civic agencies like KMC, district municipal corporations (DMCs) and cantonments have limited jurisdiction and lack of strong coordination among the bodies has been one of the biggest problem. SSWMB will support all the civic organizations across Sindh for waste management,” he said.

The MD said waste round the globe was considered resource not a liability. Since we could not make use of it by recycling or generating energy, therefore, it had become liability for us.

“Waste is money. People are generating billions of rupees through it through different means in the world,” he said.

To a query, he said SSWMB could not be involved in corruption as it would consist of experts and private firms would be hired for entire solid waste work through outsourcing, he said adding, two more land fill sites were being considered as current ones could at most be taking garbage by next year because they were almost overflowing.

Chief Secretary Sindh and Chairman SSWMB Sajjad Saleem Hotiana said solid waste management had so far been eluded for a comprehensive solution.

He quoted a noted British Economist Sir Josiah Stamp who said: “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” Hotiana said that the wisdom equally applied to prevalent situation in the city. So, today what we were seeing around were the consequences of not meeting our responsibilities.

He said solid waste management had become liability and SSWMB would turn it into resource by strengthening and consolidating the culture of recycling.

Chief Executive Officer Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) SM Muneer said it had already been too late but before the city completely got submerged in heaps of garbage we must take right action and SSWMB was a good step in this regard.

He said in present scenario the existing bodies were unable to meet the demands of city. He also pointed out the shortage of water faced by industrialists in SITE Industrial Area, where scores of industries are setup.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah while addressing the seminar as a chief guest said solid waste management plan had huge importance for Karachi.

“Pakistan People’s Party has always been cognizant to people’s needs and one of its example is SSWMB,” he said.

Shah said we needed to take broader view to provide our children and grand children a clean environment by reducing waste.

He expressed hope that the project of solid waste management would succeed and ensured strong political support for that purpose. He also said that the issue of shortage of water in SITE area would be attended.

Senior Vice President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Raheem Janoo, Deputy Commissioner Central Dr Saif ur Rehman, industrialist Gulzar Feroz, Senior Manager Lahore Waste Management Board Umer Farooq and many industrialists, experts and other people were also present on the occasion.

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