KARACHI: Apart from land mafia and tanker mafia, Karachi has been held hostage by the garbage mafia. With the removal of garbage from the city, several factories will be shutdown. The city’s marine life is being rapidly vanishing as 600 Million Gallon water per Day (MGD) is dumped in the sea untreated, which is also causing trouble for the Pakistan Navy.
There’s a solution to every problem of this city. However, due to lack of coordination and support between the provincial and local governments, the issues of this city are getting complicated.
Geo News’ senior anchorperson Hamid Mir conducted his programme 'Capital Talk' in Karachi and visited the city’s areas littered with foul-smelling garbage along with Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar and Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani. Both of them did not own responsibility for the woes of this city, however, Pakistani singer and social activist Shehzad Roy and architect Shahid Abdullah and Vice-Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini presented solutions to the problems of this city. They shared that the city has the capacity to generate funds itself and resolve its issues. On the other hand, Ghani pointed out that his officers were afraid of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Speaking in Geo News programme Capital Talk, Akhtar said that water is supplied to this city through water tankers, not through water lines of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). He highlighted how the water supply is being mismanaged in the city and how necessary it has become to get rid of the tanker mafia. He also pointed out that the infrastructure of KWSB should be improved.
He termed the KWSB 'illegal'. In his show, Mir also presented the version of citizens and those officers who provide water to the citizens. The inhabitants of the city told Mir how they get water at exorbitant rates.
Speaking in the programme, Akhtar shared how the city has been hijacked by different mafias. Due to garbage in the city, he said that dogs are increasing and on daily basis 150 to 200 dog biting cases surface, according to a report of the Indus Hospital. According to him, recycling factories should be installed at the dumping sites of the city to resolve the garbage issue.
He criticized the Sindh government’s bid to handover garbage collection function to a Chinese company and said that they, the local people of this city, have the capacity to lift and transfer the garbage to the landfill site. He further said that the Sindh government, in its interests, has kept all the powers with itself, while the Sindh government’s claim of reduction of funds on behalf federal government isn’t true. Under the National Finance Commission (NFC), he said the Sindh government is getting more funds. Under the NFC, they [Sindh government] have received Rs840 billion, he shared.
Answering a question regarding garbage littered across the city, Ghani said that the Sindh government has worked in this regard. It will take two more months to clean the city of garbage, he said and added that it wasn’t their responsibility to clean the city from garbage. When Hamid Mir deliberated further on the subject, he clarified that it wasn’t either mayor’s function, but the District Municipal Corporations’. Earlier in 2001 when the MQM was in power, he said that the garbage collection was with the towns not the city government.
According to Ghani, the rain drains were constructed for flood-like situations, but people of the city started dumping garbage inside these drains. His government, he claimed, has worked on this and has also gotten these drains cleaned from encroachment. He shared that there used to be three water treatment plants in the city and with the passage of time, they became dysfunctional. The government is paying attention to this, he said.
Meanwhile, in the programme, Roy said diseases could spread due to the sewage water. He said that the two biggest problems of this city are population and pollution. He urged the government to take immediate measures to treat the dirty water before disposing it into the sea.
On the other hand, speaking in the programme, citizens grieved that due to disposal of untreated sewage water directly into the sea, their business of fishing is also getting affected as fish cannot survive in this dirty water.
Architect Shahid Abdullah offered his services to clean the water of Nehr-e-Khayyam. He informed Mir how a group of architects including himself are after the Sindh government since 2016 to take over the Nehr-e-Khayyam, clean it and let people use it as recreational spot.
He showed his displeasure over the response of various governmental organizations. Vice-Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini explained how due to sewerage water, the Pakistan Navy and shipping industry are being adversely affected.