The federal government-initiated campaign to clean Karachi receives appreciation. The situation of the metropolitan indeed required an urgent solution. And Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in collaboration with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-led local government set-up will address the issue of cleanliness in the largest city of the country. Time will tell if the drive is an ad hoc solution or PTI is serious in finding a permanent solution for cleaning the city.

What explains the indifference of PPP to the woes of the residents of Karachi? When Karachi needs the attention of the provincial government the most, PPP’s obliviousness to the issue is astonishing. Is the cleanliness of the metropolitan not a concern for the PPP? Or is it sheer incompetence on the part of the PPP? Or is it too late for the provincial government to respond? Or does PPP leadership think of Karachi a city located outside Sindh? Nevertheless, to be fair to PPP, it is true that the Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah initiated a cleanliness drive in parts of Karachi last month. However, the initiative proved a temporary relief.

Now is PTI’s campaign to clean Karachi any different from that of the PPP? As per the plan of Mr Zaidi, it seems that the PTI approach towards cleaning the city is also a temporary one. Cleanliness drives cannot do much when the city administration lacks the necessary equipment and capacity that is needed to dispose of the waste the city produces.

The government’s failure to clean up the city all these years has put the town in a huge solid waste management crisis. According to one study last year, Karachi generates 13,000 tonnes of daily trash. Will the centre-led campaign succeed in cleaning such a massive quantum of waste? Only one or two-weeks long drive cannot do anything. Cleaning up the backlog of years of waster in addition to collecting the everyday garbage is not possible without strengthened municipal government.

Now that the federal government has taken up the issue of cleanliness of Karachi, it should not be a two-week drive. The federal government needs to coordinate with the provincial government. Both federal and provincial authorities need to sit together to chalk out a permanent solution to deal with the solid waste management crisis. Also, we have seen that outsourcing the issue has not generated any positive results. Outsourcing is an expansive exercise. It will be better to give space and resources to the city government. A city government having adequate funds cannot only clean the city, but it can also take steps to make it green.