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CDA’s failure to shift garbage dumping site forces people to come on roads

Islamabad

May 28, 2017

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Protesters block IJP road for hours halting traffic,

demand shifting of site from locality

Islamabad

Fed up of all the previous assurances from the local administration and political leadership of their constituency, the residents of localities near Sector I-12 along IJ Principal Road took it upon themselves to raise their voice and staged a protest demonstration on IJ Principal Road, one the main roads connecting twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Mockery of the fact is that the dwellers of Westridge, Habib Colony, British Homes, Faiz Valley and other adjoining areas who have been exposed to various diseases due to disposal of tonnes of garbage from different sectors of the metropolitan city on daily basis and its subsequent burning but nobody has paid attention to address this problem for years. The smoke and fumes emanating from burnt garbage causes great inconvenience to the residents of above mentioned areas as they have to bear the brunt of all the smoke and stench emanating from the garbage dump.

Time and again, they brought up the issue into the notice of Capital Development Authority and staged several protests under local political leadership including MNA Malik Ibrar at IJ Principal Road but in vain. Little attention was paid to the woes of the area residents and they were left to bear this unhygienic condition on permanent basis.

On Friday, when the nation was glued to their television sets watching Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presenting federal budget 2017-18, the residents of Westridge, Habib Colony, British Homes, Faiz Valley and other adjoining areas blocked IJ Principal Road in front of Construction Technology Training Institute (CTTI) in sector I-12 in protest against dumping of solid waste by CDA in the area. They blocked the road for almost two hours. They were carrying placards and banners and raised high pitched slogans against CDA Chairman and Mayor Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad Anser Aziz and local MNA Malik Ibrar for not listening to their demands.

The protesters claimed that even though Wafaqi Mohtasib on February 19, 2013 had ordered local administration not to dispose garbage at the site, this activity continues. They said excessive smoke with obnoxious/foul smell was emitted during the burning of the solid waste. The emission of smoke and excessive dust was causing adverse impact on the environment and human health. It may cause diseases like eye irritation and damage the respiratory system of the people living in and around the site at Rawalpindi side.

A protester, Nazir Ahmed said that Islamabad is considered to be the 9th most planned city of the world. “However, it is ironical that this planned city lacks a proper waste disposal system. We can’t understand as why our city fathers have overlooked this matter for years,” he added.

Another protester, Sameen Khan appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to check the local political leadership which was unable to resolve the problems of the dwellers of their constituency NA-54.

It is pertinent to note that a day before protest, Deputy Director Environment Protection Agency, Rawalpindi visited the site and submitted a report to the Environment Protection Agency Pakistan which stated that most of the solid waste was openly dumped in Sector I-12. Offensive smell was being felt on IJ Principal Road and vicinity area causing public nuisance. He appealed to director general EPA to look into the matter and address the genuine grievances of the residents of the area.

Traffic remained blocked for almost two hours on busy IJ Principal Road because of the protest. However on assurance from SSP Industrial Area Hashim, who said that if they had stamped court orders and someone was violating these court orders then they should call Rescue 15, police will take action against the violators. The protesters dispersed peacefully on SSP’s assurance that he will arrange their meeting with deputy director EPA

The situation in the areas adjoining this garbage dump is terrible, as the garbage is mostly burned in the evening and thick clouds of smoke released by the burning garbage makes it difficult for the people of nearby localities of to breathe.

Sohail Ali, a resident of Westridge, said it has become unbearable for them to breathe due to the thick smoke compounded with stinking smell emanating from garbage.

Wearing a breathing mask, Sohail Ali said that since ages an age-old solution to garbage disposal has been used which is to burn it on the site.

Waqas Khan, is among many local residents affected by the fumes emanating from the I-12 garbage dumping site where the garbage is usually set ablaze. He said that many a times they came onto roads to protest against the insensitivity of the civic body.

Ali Amad, a resident of Carriage Factory area said that dryness of the mouth, itching of the eyes, severe cough and asthma are just some of the problems faced by the residents of his locality.

He said that the residents of localities near I-12 garbage dumping site cannot sleep properly during night as clouds of toxic gas and foul odours are not only polluting the environment, but making them spend sleepless nights.

Health experts also claim that fumes emitting from burning garbage as well as smoke affects respiratory systems of the breathers badly. They said garbage burning near residential areas can cause a number of lung-related diseases, as well as rashes, nausea and headaches.

Is seems quite ironical that local administration has not been paying attention to a genuine demand of the people and unable to establish a proper garbage dumping site. Although they are not living in the posh sectors of the federal capital, these are also human beings and they deserve better environment to live a healthy life.

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