KARACHI - Despite the tall claims by the city administration and the Sindh government of keeping Karachi clean over Eidul Azha, many areas of the metropolis still have piles of offal lying on the streets, not only causing an unbearable stench but also posing a health risk to the residents.

To top it all off, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s (PMD) weather advisory, the metropolis is expected to receive heavy rainfall from today (Thursday) until Saturday, which could worsen the provincial capital’s cleanliness situation.

Per the PMD, the heavy downpours may result in urban flooding. Health experts say that mixed with offal and garbage, the accumulated rainwater may cause diseases, adding that the authorities should therefore show greater responsibility and dispose of the animal waste and carcasses in a timely fashion.

Citizens’ plight

Some of the most affected areas include Burnes Road, Gulberg, Soldier Bazaar, Paposh, North Karachi, Liaquatabad, Keamari, Nazimabad, and Bahadurabad. Residents of Burnes Road, who were the worst affected by the uncollected piles of offal on the streets, expressed immense grief and anger toward the authorities. 

“It has been three days, but no one has come to collect the offal. The remains of animals have transformed into mountains of rubbish. The stench is so strong, we cannot even breathe properly,” lamented a Burnes Road resident. Similarly, a textile merchant from Saddar said that the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) and the district administration had broken all previous records of incompetence this year.

“I don’t understand how and why officials from these institutions are paid their salaries and benefits when they cannot do their jobs,” he lashed out.

He further said that water from the previous spell of rains was still standing on the roads, but the authorities had done nothing to clean the drains. “We have spent sleepless nights because of all the dirty water swept inside our houses.  But instead of taking timely measures related to the cleaning of storm-water drains, the provincial government and the mayor of Karachi were busy blaming each other. 

 

And now, we have this waste from the sacrifices and the predictions of heavy rain. The situation will wreak havoc in Karachi,” he added.

Risk of diseases

Speaking to The Express Tribune, senior physician and epidemiologist Dr Naeem confirmed that if immediate steps were not taken to dispose of the offal and carcasses, there was a risk of the outbreak of epidemic diseases in the city.

“Bacteria living on animal remains can enter the human body and affect the lungs, thus causing a severe cough, skin diseases, and allergies,” Dr Naeem explained. “Affected people can suffer from deadly diseases like intestinal inflammation or pneumonia, while those who are already suffering from different diseases and have weak immune systems can face further complications.”

Empty promises

Two days before Eidul Azha, the Sindh government had made tall claims about providing relief to Karachi’s people, stating that district officials and staff would be on constant patrol in the city to ensure the timely disposal of waste from sacrificial animals. The government further had promised that local government and district administration officials would be present on the ground to resolve the problems and grievances of the people. In this regard, district authorities had also cancelled the holidays of its officials.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar had set up different points for the disposal of garbage and rubbish in the city, as did the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board. Meanwhile, deputy commissioners were given the responsibility of disposing of garbage as per the orders of Karachi commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani.

However, the plan failed to materialise in its entirety as many areas remained neglected during the offal-collection process.

When approached for comment on the situation, neither Shallwani nor Akhtar responded despite repeated attempts.