Residents approach human rights body against garbage dumping -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Residents approach human rights body against garbage dumping

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Dumping of garbage was once considered to be a common issue only in urban areas. But now people living in the rural areas are also complaining about it.

A delegation of residents from Fatehjang on Thursday approached the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), saying the environment in their area was being polluted by the dumping of garbage.

NCHR Chairman retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan told Dawn that a clean environment was one of the major human rights and the matter would be taken up with the authorities concerned.

Mohammad Munir Butt, the chairman of the Citizen Forum Fatehjang, told Dawn that he and other residents held a meeting with senior NCHR consultant Mirza Idrees Baig and informed him about the dumping of garbage by the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA).

“The TMA has started dumping garbage in the open, creating a foul smell in the area,” he said.

“Moreover, we use underground water through wells which are located on the path of the rainwater. Now the rainwater would pass from the garbage before reaching the wells. Within a few years, the underground water will become polluted,” he said.

Another resident, Malik Amir Afsar, said last month the NCHR took notice of the matter after which the TMA stopped throwing the garbage in the open. However, on Wednesday they again started dumping the garbage in the same site.

“We visited the office of the NCHR where the senior consultant advised us to write a complaint and he would contact the TMA representatives and the residents to take a decision on the matter,” he said.

When contacted, Tehsil Municipal Officer Fatehjang Khan Badshah said the TMA had stopped dumping garbage on the directions of the NCHR.

“We are trying to find a new site but residents of not a single village are ready to allow us to dump the garbage of the city near their area. Currently, we don’t have any dumping place and are looking for a site away from villages,” he said.

Dumping of garbage has become a big issue across the country. In Karachi, even collection of garbage has become a problem.

In Islamabad, garbage was dumped in Sector H-11 for long but the high court took notice and stopped the practice a few years ago.

Later, when the garbage was being dumped in the National Park area, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice and stopped it too. A project to establish a landfill site at Kuri could not be implemented due to the concerns among environmentalists that the underground water would be polluted.

Senate Functional Committee on Government Assurances is also hearing a same issue on the calling attention notice of Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Khan of the PML-N. The senator claimed that the garbage of Islamabad and Rawalpindi was dumped in the Nullah Leah.

Justice Chohan added that dumping of garbage was not a solution to the issue as the country cannot find so many landfill sites.

Developed countries such as France, Germany and even Turkey have stopped dumping and are recycling the garbage and making energy and fertilizer from it, he said.

“Pakistan is a signatory to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. So we need to make a national policy to address the issue,” he said.