The highly mismanaged municipal solid waste disposal system in Pakistan cannot be attributed to the absence of appropriate technology for disposal but to the fact that the system has a lot of responsibility but no authority, a former PCSIR scientist said.
Former Director, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Dr. Mirza Arshad Ali Beg, was delivering the keynote address at a seminar on ‘Solid and Hospital Waste Management’ held under the aegis of Sindh Ombudsman office on Saturday.
He dubbed the absence of authority as an inherent deficiency attached to the waste disposal system.
Dr. Beg said that the local bodies could not address the solid waste problem simply because they were not allocated funds necessary for such a gigantic task. “Much of the commotion in our society about the problems in disposal of solid waste is because the local bodies do not deliver the services although they receive the conservancy charges,” he added.
Dr. Beg proposed that an independent body, in order to have a meaningful system, should handle the solid waste management, having proper estimates on what it would cost to deliver a unit of service. He elaborated that the management body should weigh the cost against the revenue generated from recycling, composting incinerating and getting power from combustion.
He said that, unfortunately, just ad hoc arrangements, including the ill-fated garbage train, were made to deal with the solid waste problem.
Provincial Ombudsman Justice (Retd) Haziqual Khairi said that the municipal bodies of Karachi could only lift up to 30-40 percent of the garbage produced daily while scavenger, mostly Afghan refugees, packed up about 20-35 percent. Almost 25-30 percent of garbage is either burnt openly or left in the open to be disposed of by nature.”
The ombudsman noted that the local municipal agencies were often found oblivious to the distinction between different types of waste received from the

hospitals. “The infectious part is not segregated at the source, which may cause deadly diseases like hepatitis and HIV,” he added. “Out of 400 private hospitals, clinics, and laboratories, only the Aga Khan University Hospital has its own incinerators while others heavily depend on one functional incinerator.”
— News selected by Saeed Mohiuddin, Reference Library.Filed by our correspondent, The News