ISLAMABAD: It seems that the civic agency is regretting its previous decision of not constructing a landfill site in Kuri as Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a recent order directed it to ensure that “no waste is dumped in temporary sites in residential areas in Islamabad with effect from 04-10-2022.” Hence now, the authority is planning on moving the dumping site to Chakbeli in Rawalpindi.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), which was setup in 1960, has so far failed to establish a scientific landfill site, and currently it has been dumping garbage and trash of the city in the under-construction residential sector I-12.

While, as per the IHC order of Justice Babar Sattar passed last month, CDA cannot dump waste in temporary sites in residential areas, meaning the civic agency will have to develop a proper landfill site outside residential areas.

The IHC justice, in his landmark judgment had also directed the federal government to ensure that all the relevant bodies are issued directions to put together a waste disposal scheme for Islamabad and ensure that CDA submits a plan for the perusal of this court within a period of three months.

Recent IHC order states waste must not be dumped in residential areas

Following the IHC orders, the CDA’s planning wing and sanitation directorates have been holding a series of meeting, but so far, there is no serious output. “We have been discussing various options we have no other options but to setup a landfill site at an appropriate place,” said an officer of the planning wing.

He said that the issue is that Islamabad has five zones and except zone III, all four zones are residential while zone three is situated in elevation (along the Margallas) and this is not ideal for landfill site.

However, Director General Civic Management Shahjahan Khan told Dawn that CDA is in talks with Rawalpindi’s administration for properly disposing garbage in Chakbeli area.

“Hopefully, we will start properly disposing off trash in Chakbeli area, as our talk with Pindi administration is almost in its final round,” he said and added that two transfer stations will also be setup in Islamabad – one in Sewage Treatment Plant in sector I-9 and one near old airport area.

On the other hand, the CDA has continuously been receiving criticism from residents for questionably reversing its decision in 2011 of setting up a permanent landfill in Kuri – a site which was finalised by an international consultant and a portion of the road was also constructed by CDA for it. However, through a dubious decision, the CDA and environment body in 2011, decided not to setup the landfill site in Kuri area.

Some officials had alleged that CDA changed the said decision at the behest of some housing societies. Since then, CDA has been making makeshift arrangements for dumping over 600 tonnes of waste at temporary locations. The civic agency, for years, has been dumping waste in the under-developed residential sector of I-12.

Earlier, some years ago, the CDA had proposed a site in Sangjani in deep ditches created by stone crushers but the environment body after receiving public complaints rejected the site.

Later, the CDA proposed a site in institutional sector of H-16, but it has to drop this idea because of a court case, whereas last year, the civic agency discussed setting up a landfill site along Park Road in the premises of nursery site only to drop this idea too, as the area falls in the middle of the city and CDA’s own three residential schemes – Park Enclave, Rawal Town and Shahzad Town – are also located in the area.

Another officer said that the civic agency will have to setup a scientific landfill site by all means. “In other countries, the landfill sites are not only used for trashing garbage, but electricity is also made from garbage and here, the 62-year old CDA still failed to earmark site for a proper landfill site,” he said.

It is relevant to note here that as a long term solution, the CDA is also working with Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) for setting up a joint site in the jurisdiction of Punjab near Mandara. Both agencies held meetings in this regard, but still there is no serious outcome. The DG civic management said that Mandra will be a permanent solution, adding that a consultant has already been hired, who is also exploring some potential sites.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2022

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