Quetta generates 1,200kgs solid waste every day

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Quetta generates 1,200kgs solid waste every day

Muhammad Jehangir Kakar 

Solid Waste Management is a mandate of Local Councils under ‘Municipal Services’ as per Section 2 (xlvii) of Local Govt Act 2010. On average, more than 1200 kilograms of solid waste is generated every day in Quetta city whereas the lifting capacity of the Quetta Municipal Corporation is less than just half of what is produced. QMC has its own institutional and human resource constraints in complementing the task conferred on it legally.

Safe Polythene Management Strategy 2021 will be launched officially  from Jan 18

The Safe Polythene Management Strategy 2021 will be launched officially on Monday, Jan 18, 2021. The Strategy commits to collecting the polythene dispersed in the environment, the introduction of forty-micron polythene bags, and the social behavioral program in affecting peoples attitudes making the civic base more responsive. The Strategy is the first phase that will orient around the Quetta Valley and would subsequently be extended to other parts of the province. Polythene remains an environmental challenge that needs to be strongly met out.

According to various surveys, Polythene forms the major chunk of the solid waste when segregated. Of the various types of use of polythene bags, the low-quality polythene used for daily consumption is the most serious one. This low-quality polythene is used once and then is discarded to rest in the environment forever without any proper management. Polythene of this type chokes the sanitation lines and is never degraded affecting the environment forever.

The first challenge as poised in the strategy is the collection of the existing Polythene in the environment. A three-pronged approach will target this sector segregating the city areas into three different categories.

First category includes drains, solid waster dump sites, public offices, schools 

The first category includes areas such as Drains/Nallas, Solid Waste Dump Sites, and Public Offices/Schools/ Colleges. The responsibility with regard to the collection of polythene from these areas will rest upon the QMC.

The next zone includes the business and commercial centers while picking the polythene from these areas will rest with the Anjuman.e.Tajiraan Quetta.

The last area from which existing polythene in the environment will be collected will be the residential areas and the scenic spots. The responsibility shall here lie with the Civil Society Organizations namely BRSP, WESS, and Taraqee Foundations.

The strategy, therefore, gives a mixture of public, private, and civic sectors which together can cause a change in managing the issue of polythene safely.

Environmental Protection Agency has initiated ‘Balochistan Prohibition on Sale, Use and Import of Polyethylene Bags (Black or any other polyethylene bags below Forty Micron thickness single-ply) Bill 2019’ on legally catering for the polythene. The Bill is pending approval of the Provincial Cabinet which shall soon be turned into a Law regulating this sector. The Bill specifies legally the thickness of the Polythene bags to be in no way less than 40 microns. Contravention to this specification will attract penalties including imprisonment for 6 months or imposition of a fine of up to 5 hundred thousand rupees or both.

Illegal transportation of polythene is the biggest challenge 

The biggest challenge is the illegal transportation of polythene in the province. The smuggling takes place from the international borders and the interprovincial transboundary movement of the low polythene bags. The strategy takes cognizance of this challenge and fixes certain responsibilities on the organizations concerned namely the Pakistan FC and Pakistan Customs along with stringent measures to be emplaced by the District Administrations.

The strategy is vocal in detailing of recycling of the polythene where an Agent will be selected by the EPA who shall hold a license to collecting the polythene and then recycling it producing different items of use. The Agent shall abide by the guidelines issued by the Government.

The Strategy envisages conducting professional research/survey on the polythene phenomenon in the city and its hazards to the environment and human health. The findings of the research will further refine and support the strategy.

The biggest challenge however will remain how to affect the peoples’ behavior making them more responsive. The Strategy does correspond to creating behavioral change but the same needs to be made more robust and intuitive.

The author is the Director-General of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Government of Balochistan 

Quetta generates 1,200kgs solid waste every day

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