Garbage, sewage bigger threat to metropolis than terrorism

Garbage, sewage bigger threat to metropolis than terrorism

KARACHI: The provincial capital, over the decades, witnessed so many problems, including targeted killings, street crime, terrorism and urban blight, but the most recent one is piling up the garbage everywhere in the metropolis.

Almost every locality in the city, from the ruling PPP dominated areas to former rulers of the city, the MQM majority areas and from posh localities to the sprawling urban slums, there are piles of garbage lying every where. Sometimes, when nearby residents lost their temper, they come to set the garbage on fire that unleashes thick clouds of smoke over the entire locality. Much of the waste ends up in empty plots, public parks, dumps, besides the schools, open spaces, on the shores and beaches of the city where it grows with every passing day.

The recently launched Karachi operation has almost succeeded to curb most of the crimes in the city, but despite announcements, the operations to remove garbage couldn't succeed. Many people assume that the Karachi garbage was one of the major reasons behind the removal of former chief minister for Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali. However, the Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah made so many media stunts and assured that within no time the garbage would be removed, but its seems that the garbage menace is bigger than governance in this part of Pakistan. According to official data, Karachi produce 12,000 tonnes of waste everyday, but there is not a single functional scientific dumping site anywhere in the city. Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) has recently estimated that because of the constant increase in the population, it is expected that Karachi will be generating 16,000 tonnes of garbage daily by 2020.

In many areas, especially along the coastal areas, the influential are using the garbage dump in the low lying areas or even inside the sea to reclaim the land, causing another environmental disaster.

In city's historical fishermen settlement, Ibrahim Hydri, local influential sea lords have started inviting garbage trucks to come and dump municipal waste into the sea so that they can get land and sale on huge price.

Not only the garbage, but waste water is also another serious problem for Karachi. There is no mechanism to dump waste water, which comprises on domestic waste and industrial effluents.

According to official data, there are 6 industrial zones in Karachi with around 10,000 industrial units having different categories such as textile, chemical manufacturers, paints and the worst in terms of chemical waste release, the tanneries. Almost entire waste is dumped into the sea, untreated. Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is an autonomous governmental body to ensure the protection of environment. Talking to Daily Times, SEPA Director General Naeem Mughal admitted that raw sewerage, untreated industrial waste, human and livestock waste was poured into the sea everyday. "The SEPA is trying is trying to content the problem," he said.