HomeFeaturesUncollected waste exposing Lahorites to health hazards

Uncollected waste exposing Lahorites to health hazards

Dr. Saeed Ahmad Ali

LAHORE, May 7 (APP):Uncollected waste and poor disposal mechanism is exposing millions of Lahorites to serious health hazards as Lahore Waste Management Company seemingly falling a bit short of ensuring metropolitan’s cleanliness.

With Lahore, the second largest city in the country generating more than 7690 tons of solid waste daily, citizens at different localities are seen complaining of uncollected waste lying at streets and roadsides.

Despite action by the LWMC, it has also been observed that a chunk of waste is either dumped in vacant plots or burnt in open emitting hazardous smoke irking the residents of those areas.

Mohsin Raza, a student at Anarkali hostel complained that improper cleanliness at food-street was emitting stinking smell and breading mosquitoes in the area.

“We can’t sleep at night due to the smell and mosquitoes biting. As we can’t afford air-conditioner in our rooms and have to sleep by keeping windows open, therefore, fouling smell and mosquitoes biting have become a nuisance for us,” he said.

He pointed out that a visit to the area especially the streets could make officers of the company realize the actual situation. “Moreover, it is not this particular area but some other parts of the city are also a victim to cleanliness and hygiene issues.”

The situation is not alike everywhere as in some areas, the LWMC workers are seen waste collecting and its vehicles disposing of this waste at proper dumping sites.

But, in a metropolitan spreading over miles where there are funds and infrastructure constraints, one cannot expect an ideal situation.

Muhammad Akhtar, a resident of Ichhra locality has informed that although in some areas generally, waste collection workers collect waste in the morning yet there is no arrangement or mechanism for waste collection in the evening.

“Therefore, we need a comprehensive strategy to keep the city clean,” he said as a number of other residents in Shadbagh, China Scheme, Misri Shah, Salamatpura, Daroghawal, Sabzazar, and Sabzi Mandi areas supplemented his opinion.

Residents of these areas have also complained of respiratory and skin diseases due to improper hygiene and cleanliness situations demanding more efforts for ensuring clean and healthy living.

Pakistan generates approximately 49.6 million tons of solid waste per year, increasing more than 2.4 percent annually. But, like other developing countries, our country also lacks an overall waste management infrastructure, creating serious environmental and health problems.

There are also challenges like inadequate waste management equipment, lack of urban planning and awareness among residents.

Mehmood Khalid Qamar, a noted environmentalist has commented that besides other environmental challenges, proper waste disposal was emerging as a gigantic task with every passing day.

“Due to rising population and rapid urbanization, ensuring proper waste disposal as well as cleaner and healthy environment has become an uphill task,” he said. “If we did not rise to the occasion, the coming years see more ailing people as well as mounting health bills.”

He said a selected spot for piling garbage near Lakhu Deher and Karol Ghati is also causing a nuisance for the residents, making the surrounding area unhealthy and foul-smelling.

“When these heaps of rubbish would continue to grow within and in the city’s outskirts, environmental situation and air quality would continue to deteriorate,” he added. “If we dream cleaner cities for tomorrow, we need to tighten our belts today.”

Meanwhile, the LWMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Babar Sahib Din has contested the residents’ and experts’ claims stating that the body was making all possible efforts to ensure cleanliness in the city.

“The government is investing more than Rs1.25 billion to improve solid waste cleanliness mechanisms in the city,” Sahib Din said. “Besides waste collection and cleanliness in different areas of the city, the company also runs awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the importance of cleanliness.”

He informed that LWMC enforcement teams have conducted special operations in different areas penalizing 466 irresponsible citizens and shopkeepers imposing Rs 1.5 million in fines during the last 15 days of April.

“During this period, the enforcement teams completed inspections of more than 5,500 places and 11 illegal dumping vehicles were seized on-the-spot registering 12 FIRs,” he informed. “Fine was also imposed for violation of the Local Government Act and more than 752 warning notices were issued on violations.

Sahib Din said the management was pursuing a zero-tolerance policy against illegal dumping of garbage on streets and roadsides and strict action is taken against violators.

He said the LWMC also conduct workshops and awareness sessions in collaboration with trade unions, schools, colleges and associations to educate people about their responsibility to keep the city clean.

“No government, authority or agency can keep any metropolis clean without the cooperation of its citizens,” he said and informed that the company was also taking part in the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative.

Sahib Din said after the success of the ‘model project’, waste and trash segregation would be formally started across the provincial capital.

Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Akhtar Hameed Memorial Trust (AHMT) to improve the waste management process by adopting scientific procedures

After its poor performance during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf regime, the present administration is buttressing efforts to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for Lahorites no matter how much time it takes to achieve the set goals.

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