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Saturday May 25, 2024

Pindiites living in pathetic condition

By Our Correspondent
April 14, 2024
A general view of a Rawalpindi road alongside the Metro bus track on March 18, 2024. — Online
A general view of a Rawalpindi road alongside the Metro bus track on March 18, 2024. — Online

The residents of surrounding localities of old Airport Road continue to live amid the health hazards that the stinking dustbins pose — mosquitoes, unbearable stench, and a poor sewer system.

“Many such areas exist in our burgeoning city. They now have houses and huts sheltering hundreds of families. The streets are so narrow that two cyclists can barely ride abreast without knocking each other down,” says Qamar Hussain.

“You cannot miss the drink bottles peeking out of the muddy road. There are tufts of grass almost covering the knotted disposable bags loaded with rubbish; half-sunk tin cans, broken slippers, paper lumps, and biodegradable kitchen waste, all allowed the freedom to survive on this potholed road,” says Agha Jafar. “There is a trickle of grey fluid, which has cut potholes in the semi-solid waste but the growing grass and weeds that thrive on the disgusting road surface impede its journey,” says Rana Turab.

“The waste is on both sides of the road. The stench is strong. Even though we are used to it, it can hit hard suddenly. Moreover, the closer you are to the waste, the stronger the smell. Despite the mess and the stench, there are bikes, cars, and other kinds of vehicles running along the road,” says Ali Sultan.

“We have been living here for over 40 years. We were born here. Now we are married and have our families. Our children go to local schools. We will not leave this place, “ said a group of women when asked to move to another locality

“The poor, as everywhere else, tend to get a raw deal. Not only have the residents of certain areas cast into uncertainty but also whatever little they had saved, they had no choice but to live in the middle of the health hazards that a stinking area poses — mosquitoes, asphyxiating stench, and a poor sewer system. Every house has its toilet pipe emptying into the road,” says Haider Shah. “I saw a baby sleeping on the shoulders of her young mother covered with pink dots all over. Mosquito bites. The parents could not afford the fancy mosquito repellents available in the market,” says Ashraf Abbas.

“What we need is a set of steps that can improve the quality of life of these people. In the first place, sewer gutters must have proper covers that contain faecal waste. Instead of adding to the waste load of the area, the nullahs should be cleared to restore the flow of water,” says Sibte Hasan.

Najaf Reza says, “Given the incredible sums of money the civic bodies of the city waste every year simple measures to improve the quality of life of these virtually voiceless people may not be fruitless funds even if they are to be relocated elsewhere in the long run.”