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August 4, 2019

Karachi’s storm water drains to be cleaned before next rain: Zaidi


August 4, 2019

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Saturday assured the people of Karachi that the storm water drains across the city will be cleaned before the next rainfall. His campaign to clean the metropolis will start on Sunday (today).

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) will supervise the clean-up campaign and its funds. Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Port Trust, Zaidi said the FWO will be on board and they will provide logistic support to them.

He said that a large number of dumpers, excavators and loaders will be brought in to clean the storm water drains. He added that the FWO is helping them out voluntarily.

As for the budget of the clean-up campaign, the federal minister said he will reveal this information after holding a meeting with the federal government. He added that the FWO will not only supervise the work but also the funds.

He said their focus is on nullahs and backlogs of garbage, as every nook and cranny of the city has turned into a dumping ground for trash.

After the recent deadly rainfall in the city, Zaidi had said in his tweet that “with the help of the citizens of this great city, we will clean up Karachi from trash in the next 2 weeks.”

His tweet and the subsequent campaign came after Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar wrote to him on Tuesday regarding the state of emergency due to the torrential rains in the city.

Zaidi said that besides the FWO, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the district municipal corporations (DMCs) are also on board. He thanked Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani for their support.

According to the federal minister, the mayor is also on board and helping them in their campaign by providing them with maps and engineering services.

Zaidi said that in the first phase, they will focus on cleaning storm water drains of garbage because the drains have become points for dumping trash.

He said the city has 38 nullahs, out of which 13 are categorised as big drains, adding that by Eidul Azha and before the next rainfall, all the choking and blocking points of the drains will be cleaned so that the low-lying areas do not get flooded.

Regarding the performance of the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, the minister said the citizens of this city have been consuming sewage mixed with drinking water. He said the role of the water board needs to be deliberated on. “What is the connection of gutter water with drinking water? This is a long-term discussion. Initially, we will clean all the drains of the city on an immediate basis.”

Zaidi was glad about the overwhelming response of the people. He said that different organisations and groups of citizens are ready to provide thousands of volunteers. “A few are ready to pool money.”

The minister said that big businesses, banks, trade bodies, industrial organisations and ordinary citizens are also on board and keen to help them, including K-Electric. He also thanked media houses for owning this campaign.

He said that due to the recent rainfall, garbage clogging the drains swept all the way into the sea, adding that trash is strewn all around the surrounding areas of Native Jetty.

He requested the provincial government to impose a ban on plastic bags, adding that this cannot be possible without the support of the people. He also requested those residing near storm water drains to voluntarily leave their homes because they will be accommodated in the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.