Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Managing Director Asif Ikram has admitted that a backlog of millions of tonnes of garbage accumulated over several years can be found on the roads and streets of Karachi.
“Around 1,600,000 tonnes of garbage of many years can be found in Karachi,” says Ikram.
The SSWMB has lifted around 150,000 tonnes during a10-day cleanliness campaign, he added.
The figures indicate that a garbage backlog of around 1,450,000 tons has yet to be lifted by the SSWMB which includes garbage of around 14,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes being produced on a daily basis.
The SSWMB managing director was speaking at a session at the Urban Resource Center on Wednesday.
Ikram said the SSWMB is controlling 35% of the garbage collection in Karachi, while 17 other agencies, including cantonment boards, the civil aviation, Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Railways, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and district municipal corporations, have their individual jurisdictions in the metropolis.
The newly-appointed SSWMB managing director told Samaa Digital that the board is running on a ‘pilot phase’ first in Karachi and it will be scale up its operations in other districts of Sindh with time.
He remained tight-lipped over the past performance of the board, only saying that the garbage backlog of millions of tonnes should be lifted timely.
“Thousands of tonnes of garbage and debris were found from the storm water drains during the cleanliness campaign initiated by the Sindh government,” Ikram shared., emphasising on the formation of effective laws on littering.
Foreign countries consider waste as a “blessing” rather than “hazard” as they have a proper system of recycling, he said.
“In the rest of the world, waste is being used to produce diesel, fertilizers and other useful materials after getting sorted and recycled. Those practices are not being followed here,” he said.
Sharing a recent experience he had at a landfill site in Jam Chakro, Ikram said he encountered a boy who was collecting hair from the garbage.
“I inquired from the boy why he did that and he replied that he sells the hair in the market after washing it and giving it proper treatment,” Ikram said. “This hair is then used to make wigs. India has a proper industry for exporting recycled hair after treating it properly,” he said.
We can use garbage in a meaningful way after separating the items, but no plan for this exists by the government.
Garbage Transit Stations should be established far from residential areas as the stringent smell of garbage creates a nuisance for the people and produces epidemic diseases, he said.
The SSWMB only has one proper GTS at Sharafi Goth outside the residential areas, while most of its other GTS, including the ones at the EBM causeway Korangi, Qayyumabad, near Asghar Ali Shah Stadium in North Nazimabad and at 4-K Bus Stop in Nazimabad are all in residential areas.
“I have visited the GTS at Asghar Ali Shah Stadium which has already blocked one side of the road and I have informed the concerned quarters to take notice of the situation,” he said.