ISLAMABAD - The dream of installing the first-ever modern solid waste management system in the federal capital still remains unrealized, apparently due to financial constraints and bureaucratic snags.

The waste management system, promised by Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Anser Aziz a couple of years ago, was meant to ensure clean and green environment across the city with scientific handling of the total garbage, generated by its urban and rural areas.

“Unfortunately, consensus among the major stakeholders could not be developed in the past which caused an inordinate delay in execution of the project,” a top official in the MCI Sanitation Wing told APP on Sunday. He asserted that the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) had floated a tender in national dailies during February this year to invite bids for materializing the project but it was canceled due to the intervention of the Ministry of Climate Change. He said the ministry had raised some technical objections and asked the MCI to carry out a feasibility study before initiating the project. It also stressed over the establishment of scientific dumping site before installation of the modern solid waste management system, the official added.

“The silver lining is that the project has entered into the advance stage as the corporation is all set to hire a consultant for carrying out its feasibility study,” he said, adding the MCI would open a technical bid of Rs 300 million on April 30 to get the consultancy advisory on the scope modern solid waste management system. He said the consultant was being hired to devise the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to streamline the process of garbage collection and its disposal. The expert would chalk out a comprehensive plan which included financial model and survey of rural areas for household waste collection, he added.

The official said the entire process of materializing the project would take several months. To a query, he said the establishment of permanent landfill site in the federal capital was also part of this project for which a land near Sangjani had been selected after carrying out an Environment Impact Assessment report of the area.

The EAI had been submitted to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency to obtain the No Objection Certificate, he added.

Currently, the federal capital illustrates a bleak picture when it comes to the handling of tonnes of garbage. The authorities concerned still rely on archaic methods of solid waste collection which not only poses serious threat to the environment but also creates health risk for the residents of the federal capital. A former employee of the IMC, requesting anonymity said the capital’s garbage has been testing the nerves of its citizens for the last couple of decades. “Islamabad is the face of Pakistan but it has been lacking a permanent dumping site since its inception.” A long ago, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has placed dumpsters of various sizes at the corner of each street of Islamabad to collect the household garbage, he said, terming the method as an outdated in the present times. “These waste trolleys without proper cover can easily be seen as overflowing in every street of Islamabad due to their timely cleansing by the IMC sanitary workers.” Similarly, the establishment of permanent dumping site had also remained herculean task for the city managers, he said. The former employee said the CDA and IMC had taken many abortive attempts in the past to set up a scientific waste site on permanent basis but no headway made in a single case. “It seems that the recent endeavors of MCI may also not see the day of light due to its financial and technical constrains.

He regretted that the total generated garbage was being dumped in a residential sector I-12, where a temporary dumping site was set up a decade ago by the civic agency.