Sidra Shehzadi, Green Blogger

Waste is one of the side effects caused by human activities. Over the years people have not being dealing with litter effectively that leads to the pollution on air, land and sea. Consequently, all the species of this planet have been suffered through the contamination comes from waste. Hence Solid Waste Management became a challenge for all the developed and developing countries.

In Pakistan waste disposal is the matter of grave environmental concern as above 5 million people die yearly because of waste related diseases. About 48.5 million tons of solid waste is produced annually with 2% annual growth rate. Pakistan, being the 8th most polluted country in the world, deals with the high consumption rate and resulting waste production that leads towards the challenge of waste disposal.

Government of Pakistan estimated that 87,000 tons of solid waste is generated daily, highly from major metropolitan areas. Being a developing nation, Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure causing serious environmental problems. Waste management sector of Pakistan is troubled by a variety of social, cultural, legislative and economic issues, resulting in waste accumulation in common areas, open dumping and burning of waste exposing hazardous toxins in the environment.

In Pakistan, solid waste management capabilities and system varies by provinces. Karachi, being a largest city of Pakistan utilitizes 3 landfill sites for waste disposal, while Lahore, the 2nd largest city have only 2 landfills. Other major cities are planning to build proper landfill sites. Whereas Balochistan with 6.9 million population has no significant infrastructure for waste management.

In developed countries incineration, landfill sites and recycling centers are used to manage the waste, while in Pakistan much of the generated waste is recovered for recycling by scavengers. But the remaining waste doesn't reached to the final disposal sites. According to a study carried out by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Karachi is in the midst of “garbage crisis” making it one of the least livable city. According to the UN Environmental Programme, 6 current activities and plans are taking place for efficient management of the solid waste.

Unfortunately as the Government and Agencies fails to deliver, citizens are themselves started to clean up the city of Karachi. Ahmed Shabbar, a social entrepreneur and founder of the “Garbage CAN” take initiative in 2016 and raised the awareness on the need to manage, recycle and dispose off waste through sustainable practices. This initiative is now running in a chain process.

For improvement in SWM, it is necessary to involve and assist the experts in environmental governance as SWM sector of Pakistan is under politicians and public workers who are not necessarily informed on waste management. The responsibility of the future is in the hands of government and citizens. So, it is imperative for the public to become environmentally educated, have a change in attitude and take action.

About the Author: Sidra Shehzadi is a fresh undergraduate in Environmental Sciences from GCWUs. She is currently providing her services as a teacher in a well reputed educational system.