Islamabad - The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) seems in a fix on the issue of choosing a new landfill site in the capital after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has objected to the ongoing garbage dumping in Sector I-12, it has been learnt.

The issue is brewing up when MCI claims to be all set to introduce modern solid waste management system in the federal capital that includes front-end collection, sweeping, transportation and disposal of municipal waste from the metropolitan limits of MCI. “After decades of negligence, rural areas of the city would also be swept in line with modern standards,” the MCI officials claimed. However, the issue of choosing a new site for dumping garbage is unresolved since EPA complained about the I-12 site in 2015.

According to the documents available with The Nation, the Sanitation Directorate is not in a position at this stage to take any action regarding shifting of the site till handing over of approved/acquired land for its further development as sanitary landfill site according to the environment standards and held that stoppage of dumping at existing site in Sector I-12 till the selection of alternate site will be an unrealistic approach.

The Sanitation Directorate said its position in a ‘Brief’ in response to the EPA objection (EPA Complaint 4/2015) to the continuing garbage dumping in Sector I-12 of the capital.

According to the directorate of Sanitation of CDA, since the foundation of Islamabad, there is no designated landfill site in the capital for final disposal of solid waste. At present, a temporary site located in Sector I-12 is being managed by the CDA for disposal of solid waste. The said site measuring 10 acres was allocated by Planning Wing, CDA in January 2012. The entire amount of solid waste i.e. 550-600 metric tons per day is collected and transported from Islamabad to the said site for its further disposal.

The directorate is of the view that permanent solution for disposal of solid waste of Islamabad, in lieu of its characterisation, is the establishment of ‘Compost Plant’ for intermediate treatment and ‘Construction of Engineered Sanitary Landfill’ for final disposal of waste as is the practice all over the world. Accordingly, it said, a scheme namely ‘Improvement of Environment by Solid Waste Management in Islamabad’ was launched at a cost of Rs1006 million which included construction of sanitary landfill site at village Kurri in zone-IV of Islamabad on 120 acres of already-acquired land as it was considered the most suitable site amongst 11 sites. The scheme was approved by CDWP in 2002 to be financed by CDA from its own resources. Upon completion of design work, in early 2006, the project was presented to Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) for approval of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). After completion of requisite codal formalities, the EIA was approved in February 2008. But in 2011, vide letter no CDA-(29)(36)-Coord/2001, the CDA Board decided to shift the permanent site to sector I-17 for resolution of the issues of waste containment site in Islamabad. The Board decision reads

“The Board approved the shifting of temporary dumping site from the Right-of-Way of Kashmir Highway in front of sectors G-10 and G-11 to 15th avenue on West of sector I-14/1 and permanent landfill site to sector I-17, Islamabad”. After abandoning the proposed and approved site in village Kurri, no alternate site was allocated/provided so far. Later DG Civic Management proposed two sites/options for development of permanent landfill site including the one on Rawat-Kalar road near to waste dumping site proposed by Rawalpindi Waste Management Company and the other along Kallar Syedaan road, 4 km from GT Road.

The Directorate of Sanitation again re-initiated the case for allocation of site but no response from the Metropolitan Corporation high-ups has been received so far.