It used to be Mehmood Booti, a solid waste dumping site located at a distance of about seven kilometres from the Old Ravi Bridge. But the place wasn’t doing the needful. Last year, the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) developed an environmentally friendly landfill site at Lakhodair.
The new site, which became functional a few months ago, is said to be the first-of-its-kind facility in the entire country, as it can dispose of solid and municipal waste in a scientific manner. Unfortunately, it has found few takers.
Take a trip around the city and you’ll find heaps of garbage lying at places other than the said site. No one seems to realise that this poses a serious threat to environment and health.
Incidentally, a majority of the private housing societies of the provincial metropolis are guilty of the exercise. You can spot mounds of dirty plastic bags, filth and other garbage in open plots of several of the residential and commercial areas of these private societies, which are also the main cause of the blockage of drainage and sewer system. Even the roads aren’t spared.
A survey of different societies reveals that many of them dump collect garbage in open plots in or out of their premises, or they dump it at an empty place near a public drain. The idea is, obviously, to save on fuel charges, as Lakhodair is situated in the back of beyond.
But the consequences of this can be deadly. If the garbage is not picked up, the air carries it around. This is the same air we inhale. Besides, it causes the garbage to decompose which in turn results in increased pollution.
Environmental experts are of the view that scattered garbage on the city roads causes serious health issues. The stink and unhygienic atmosphere bothers the commuters, especially pedestrians who use footpaths along the roads. As garbage dries, it mixes with the air that we inhale.
According to official figures, around 8,000 tons of solid waste is generated daily in Lahore while over 1,500 tons waste is generated in Lahore Cantonment, Model Town, Defence, and many private housing societies. Out of this 8,000 tons of waste, 40 per cent stays on the city roads due to various reasons, whereas the other 1,500 tons of waste is disposed of in an improper manner.
Sources tell TNS that the LWMC is solely responsible for all the mess and polluted environment because as per rules the company should lift and dispose of all the garbage from the city in a scientific manner but it isn’t doing enough.
As per rules, the private societies cannot dump their waste in open plots; they must engage the LWMC to lift their garbage and dispose it off in a scientific manner. So far the company has not enforced the law and has adopted a lenient behaviour towards the private societies for reasons best known to its top management.
Zahid Mushtaq, a senior manager at LWMC, says that the company has taken action against several private housing societies for what he calls “illegal dumping.”
He rejects the notion that the LWMC is involved in the exercise. In fact, he claims that the LWMC is planning to start charging the private societies for the service it provides. “In case a society refuses to pay for the service, the company can ask the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to pay it by selling mortgaged plots of that particular society.”