As Centre’s drive fails, Sindh govt takes up ‘Herculean task’ of lifting garbage
After the failure of the local governments and the federal government-backed cleanliness campaign to lift garbage from the city, the Sindh government has announced that it will clear Karachi of municipal waste to a great extent in one month period.
The announcement to this effect was made by Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah as he talked to media persons at the Sindh Assembly on Monday. He said the new cleanliness campaign of the provincial government would be launched on September 21, under which garbage would be lifted significantly from the city in just one month.
The local government minister informed the media that efforts would be made to enhance the garbage disposal capacity of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), after which its capacity to lift garbage from the city would be increased from 5,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes on a daily basis.
He also appealed to the media to play a positive role in the upcoming cleanliness campaign in the city by highlighting the cleanliness work in order in order to enhance the positive image of the relevant municipal agencies in Karachi.
He said the Sindh chief minister would also hold a meeting regarding the new cleanliness campaign. Explaining his government’s plan for the new campaign, the local government minister said the Sindh government would establish makeshift garbage transfer stations at different locations of the city for a proper disposal of the municipal waste at the landfill sites.
He said the Karachi mayor, the commissioner, the deputy commissioners and the chairmen of District Municipal Corporations would work under a joint and coordinated strategy to ensure the success of the cleanliness campaign. The Sindh government wanted to catch up on the backlog of the municipal waste in the city, he remarked.
A few weeks earlier, the federal government initiated a cleanliness campaign in Karachi with the aim to clean its drains and transfer its municipal waste dumped on public places to the designated landfill sites.
The campaign, which was titled ‘Let’s Clean Karachi’, was announced by Federal Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi.
In a tweet, Zaidi said, “with the help of the citizens of this great city, we will clean up Karachi from trash in next two week. #LetsCleanKHI.” The move came after Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar wrote to him on July 30 regarding the sorry state of affairs in Karachi following monsoon rains.
In the letter, Akhtar said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had requested the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to help the corporation clean the storm water drains on an emergency basis. “It will be an understatement to say that ports owe to the city and ports should shoulder there responsibility under CSR,” the letter read.
Speaking on August 1, Akhtar said that Zaidi’s tweet came after he wrote to him. When asked if the corporation or his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), would support the campaign, he responded that if the federal ministry shared its plan with them, they would move ahead together.
Initially, the Sindh government welcomed Zaidi’s initiative. Addressing a news conference, then Sindh local government minister Saeed Ghani said it was good that the federal government had expressed its intention to do something for the people of Karachi. He assured the Centre that the Sindh government would extend every kind of help to the drive.
Ghani, however, criticised the MQM-P, saying that due to the failure of its local government representatives, Zaidi had to initiate a cleanliness drive in the city. “The KMC and DMCs have not been able to complete their sanitation work, as perhaps Ali Zaidi has come here to help them out,” he said.
He added that the federal minister had claimed that Karachi would be cleaned in 10 days and if it really happened, nothing would be better than that. However, later, the Sindh government censured Zaidi for the campaign and claimed that the federal government’s drive had turned the city dirtier than it was before.
Speaking on September 1, Ghani, who was then no longer the local government minister but had got the portfolio of the provincial information ministry instead, accused Zaidi of worsening the situation of garbage in the city.
He blamed the federal maritime affairs minister for the out-of-control garbage situation in Karachi after the heavy rainfall. He said mosquitos and flies had become a curse for the people of Karachi but the Sindh government was helpless in this regard as teams of the cleanliness drive initiated by Zaidi had been fishing garbage out of storm water drains and dumping it on grounds and streets.
Ghani maintained that whenever he raised objection to the mode of work of the federal government-backed ‘Let’s Clean Karachi’ campaign, Zaidi became annoyed and held him responsible for the issue of garbage in Karachi.