RWMC blames capital’s civic agency for ‘inefficient management’
By: Mariam Shafqat and Danish Hussain
RAWALPINDI / ISLAMABAD: Location and management of a waste-dumping site on the IJP Road has led to buck passing between the Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The level of air pollution in Rawalpindi has reached alarming proportions. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study listed the city among 20 of the most polluted globally.
RWMC Managing Director Irfan Ahmed Qureshi refuses to agree with the results of the study, and is not open to the possibility that unchecked and improper waste incineration may be one of the causes behind air pollution in the city.
Talking to The Express Tribune, he argued that Rawalpindi was only one of the two metropolitans in the country where waste-collection efficiency was a 100 per cent.
“Since our contract with the Turkish company Albayrak, RWMC was collecting 900 tonnes of waste daily,” Qureshi said.
“30,000 tonnes of previously uncollected waste has been removed so far and dumped at a site near Losar village on Chak Beli Road,” he said.
Qureshi however said the IJP dumping site continued to create an adverse environmental impact.
He said that the RWMC wanted the CDA to efficiently manage the site.
The official also said that the site was contributing to air pollution in Rawalpindi as it was located right next to the city limits.
The RWMC official said the waste company also used to collect waste dumped by I-9 and I-11 katchi abadi residents.
“Earlier this month, a committee comprising Rawalpindi commissioner, deputy commissioner and myself voiced reservations against the location of the site,” Qureshi added.
CDA Member Environment Mustafain Kazmi categorically denied the claim that the CDA had any role in polluting Rawalpindi’s environment.
He told The Express Tribune that leading environmental lawyer Dr Parvez Hassan and MNA Asad Umar visited the site and expressed satisfaction on the waste-incineration methods being used.
“I don’t know how a waste dumping site that is located well inside CDA’s jurisdiction should concern Rawalpindi,” Kazmi said. He added that dumping was being done with proper soil coverage.
“Probably authorities in Rawalpindi are trying to conceal their own poor performance by shifting all the blame on the CDA,” Kazmi said.
He also said that the IJP Road site was temporary and would be shifted to one of the two proposed locations near Rawat within next six months.
The situation has led to a call for improved coordination between the civic agencies of the twin cities.
Environment expert Dr Muhammad Irfan Khan, while talking to The Express Tribune, said there was a need for an integrated waste-collection mechanism between the two cities.
Defying SC orders
On January 22, 2014 the Supreme Court while disposing of a case regarding dumping of solid waste in Sector D-12 had directed CDA to formulate a proper long-term composite solid waste-management plan with an emphasis on recycling.
The court was assured by the city managers that the CDA’s Planning Wing had started selection of a suitable location for development of a landfill site in consultation with the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency.
Ignoring the court orders, the CDA has been continuing with the practice of dumping solid waste in the open along the IJP Road in Sector I-12.
The CDA estimates that the volume of waste generation in Islamabad is around 600 metric tons per day.
ICT administered areas
There is no systematic collection or disposal of solid waste from areas administered by the ICT Administration, such as Tarnol, Bhara Kahu and Banigala, where garbage is thrown in empty plots, streams and ravines.