If the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board was supposed to collect garbage from across the province, it’s done a pretty crappy job.
It has had five years to prove itself but so far is working in only three districts out of Sindh’s 29 and its operations are limited to Karachi. It has farmed the work out to Chinese companies in Karachi’s districts East, South and Malir.
The only good news is that it plans to add a fourth district, Korangi, in the next two months. “The SSWMB is planning to process and recycle garbage dumped at landfill sites and the tendering has to be done this month,” says the board’s MD, Dr Attur Das Sanjnani.
Hyderabad is its second priority and this would also cover Jamshoro and Kotri districts.
So far, however, the Chinese companies, Changyi Kangjie Sanitation Engineering and Hangzhou Jinjiang, are working in Karachi’s South, East and Malir. Their main job is to collect garbage door-to-door and move it to the Garbage Transfer Stations and then to landfill sites at Deh Jam Chakro and Gond Pass.
“The Sindh government has allocated Rs5 billion per year, but it is releasing around Rs2 billion to Rs2.5 billion, which makes it difficult to make both ends meet,” says Dr Sanjnani.
The budgeted Rs5.25 billion every year is supposed to be given to the board to construct landfill sites, set up garbage transfer stations and make payments to Chinese contractors.
The Sindh Solid Waste Management Board is paying the Chinese $17 (Rs2,663) per ton for collecting garbage from Karachi’s East, South and Malir.
DMC Central Chairman Rehan Hashmi, who is against the Sindh government rates, said that his district lifts garbage at Rs750 per ton, which is much cheaper than the Chinese rate.
Another stakeholder that is not happy with the outsourcing of garbage collection is the union. Sajjan Union is for workers of the KMC, the water board, district municipal corporations and solid waste management board. Sajjan Union’s president Zulfikar Shah is also against the rates the board pays. He argued that local contractors would do a much cheaper job (Rs340 per ton).
There is a dispute about the magnitude of the work as well. MD Dr Sanjnani claimed that they lift up to 13,000 tons of garbage in a day. These numbers are, however, disputed by Sajjan Union. Its president, Zulfikar Shah, said that he estimates Karachi produces 19,000 tons but the SSWMB only manages to lift up to 11,000 tons daily.
Garbage from cantonment boards does not make it to the landfill sites, despite several letters written to the authorities.
Last month the board cancelled its fourth agreement, with Hangzhou Jinjiang Group Sanitation Services for District West over a poor performance.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board should be abolished. He added that the Supreme Court has already raised questions over its performance. It is his position that garbage collection should be given under KMC’s control.
The Chinese companies have a total of 1,300 workers, including 300 drivers. DMCs South, East and Malir have around 3,000 sanitary workers. The Chinese companies have 200 compactors, 10 loaders, 70 scooter rickshaws and 100 cycle rickshaws, a complete fleet for three districts. The DMCs, on the other hand, have only 160 loaders and dumpers in total. Sajjan Union president Zulfikar Shah said the “Sindh Solid Waste Management Board is just hot air because it doesn’t have its own workers.”
The board has assigned 11 garbage transfer stations in Karachi, out of which six are not working. Asphalt Plant – Korangi Sector 26 in District East, Deh Ghangaro in District East, Mewa Shah in District South, Mauripur in District South, Deh Ockiwara in Malir and the Export Processing Zone Authority in Malir are not working.
Currently, five garbage transfer stations are working at Sharafi Goth, EBM Causeway, Dhobi Ghat, Baldia Town and Qasba Colony.