Solid Waste Management

wasteMunicipal solid waste includes house hold waste, waste from commercial enterprises and institutions, street sweeping and also biomedical waste, construction and demolition waste. The large scale anthropogenic activities in society generate large quantities of wastes posing a serious problem for their disposal. Improper disposal leads to spreading of diseases and unhygienic condition besides spoiling the aesthetics. The MSW is heterogeneous in nature and contains paper, plastic, rag, metal, glass piece, ash and compostable matter. In addition, other substances like scrap materials, waste papers, dead animals, discarded chemicals, paints, hazardous hospital waste and agricultural residue are also categorized under MSW. According to a report on “A Global review of solid waste management” it is estimated that about 3 billion residents generating 1.2 kg per person per day (1.3 billion tons per year). By 2025 this will likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tons per year). The South Asian region as a whole is experiencing rapid urban growth. Increasing population, urbanization, industrialization and changing consumption patterns are resulting in the generation of increasing amounts of solid waste and diversification of the type of the solid waste generated. Solid waste is the most visible environmental problem among many in urban areas. Increased solid waste generation creates more environmental problems in this region, as many cities are not able to manage it due to institutional, regulatory, financial, technical, and public participation shortcomings.

The untreated solid waste poses a serious threat to different environmental hazards, health problems to the community, and also bears the economic cost for the residents of any area as a whole. Common problems for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management in the region include institutional deficiencies, inadequate legislation and resource constraints. Long and short term plans are inadequate due to capital and human resource limitations. There is a need to practice integrated solid waste management approach such as: Incorporation of more environmental and economic friendly concepts of source separation; recovery of waste; legitimization of the informal systems; partial privatization and public participation.

Pakistan is also one of the developing countries which are situated in the south Asia, facing the same problem dealing with the solid waste as other developing countries in the world. Unfortunately, none of the cities of Pakistan has a proper SWM right from the collection up to the proper disposal. Under the recently existing system of local government SWM is the responsibility of the Town/Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMAs), however finding the proper place for the solid waste disposal is the responsibility of the district council. The employed sanitary workers by TMAs sweep the streets and collect the trash at specified places and then it’s taken to the dumping sites by the Municipal tractors and trolleys. But due to the extension of urban areas and unplanned cities with emerging population, it is not possible for the municipal authority to provide the facility at door to door. Municipal authority hardly manages secondary collection, where there is access. Primary collection is not carried out properly, in some areas there is no such facility at all. In results the waste is thrown in empty plots, side of roads and streets. That poses serious environmental and health problems.

eguardSo in such a scenario AHKMT (Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial trust) has been playing a very key role in sorting out this problem in the poor urban areas of Pakistan where they are lacking of the waste collection facility. This organization had developed a model for SWM called ”e-guard model”, this model mainly focus on the primary collection of the waste from selected house hold in every particular area. The e-guard collectors or sanitary workers are being trained for the purpose; they collect the domestic waste from door to door and segregate the waste on the spot. The recyclable waste is usually non-biodegradable and further different recyclable materials are put in different bags hanging with the collection carts. And the remaining waste is disposed off in nearby RCB (Rawalpindi Cantonment Board) or any other municipal authority’s disposal point. After segregation the recyclable materials are sold by E-guard collector but some biodegradable waste of nearby household is hand over to Haryali Center where Compost is produce from this waste. First time “Haryali center” was established near to Potohar TMA Rawalpindi where Biodegradable waste composed of; Kitchen Waste containing fruits and vegetables peals and Garden Waste consist of Grass cuttings, Leaves, twigs and branches) is segregated for composting processes. The compost is then sellout to the forms nursery and farmers for vegetables and crops growing instead of using chemical fertilizers.  Initially AHKMT developed Haryali center but after a period of time it is hand over to a group of supervisor and e-guard collectors. Now they run and maintain it for his income generation. The recyclable materials are sold by e-guard collectors to the junkman or kabarya. This approach can be a best source of income generation for the poor people. AHKMT carried out many projects for the same purpose.

AHKMT started its first project based on the e-guard model in 2008 in the Dhoke  Saydan (Rawalpindi) with 500 households. This project was funded by “Water Aid Pakistan”.  With the passage of time the households were increased up to 2000, the sanitary workers were also increased to 20. 100Rs were charged from each household on monthly basis, so a whole 200000 Rs were collected. They collect the domestic waste from door to door and segregate the waste on the spot. The recyclable waste is usually non-biodegradable and further different recyclable materials are put in different bags hanging with the collection carts. And the remaining waste is taken to Haryali center established by AHKMT as a part of e-guard model. The waste is mainly divided into 2 main categories, organic and inorganic(recyclable and refused). Out of this total waste  60% is organic 25% is recyclable and 15 % is refused waste. Organic waste called green waste mostly coming from kitchen waste such as peel and remaining of vegetables and food etc. The other form was inorganic containing glass, pieces of iron, paper, etc. The recyclable materials are sold by E-guard collector to middle man called (Kabarya). The carts are designed in way that there are different pits made for different kind of waste to make the segregation easy. The composting of the organic waste was carried out in Haryali center. Haryali center was spread on the almost 16 kanals land but with the passage of  time and experience the land of Haryali center was reduced to 20 marla for 1000 households (HH). Different type of vegetables was grown with the help of this compost. The launching of the project was not that easy, it took enough time to go through all procedures and motivate the community through community mobilization. The organization has roots in the local communities. AHKMT mobilized community through cleanliness campaigns by removing all waste dumps with community. And also arranged awareness sessions and   in all schools in the area, so that they can go to their homes and areas and tell the message that solid waste should be dump in the proper places.  The representatives of these communities were involved at every stage to own the project and ensure the functioning and sustainability of the project after the external support withdrawn at the end of the project period. The projected was extended for further 3 years and extended to other cities of Pakistan.

UN-habitat funded AHKMT for the e-guard project implemented in 6-cities Gilgit (GB), Mansehra, Mingora, (Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa) Muzafferabad (AJK), Sialkot and Rawalpindi (Punjab). Before the replication of e-guard success model, it was more important to analyze the current existing practices in all those cities. In this regard, a base line study was conducted in each city. After the facts finding and situation analysis it was decided to replicate the model through the local potential partner. A Project Oversight Committee (POC) was formulated on city level which was responsible to manage and look after the whole program in each city. Through POC AHKMT identified local Potential partner and targeted area for the replication of e-guard model. All potential partners signed C.A (community agreement). For the replication of e-guard model sanitation week has been organized, conducted training workshops for social organizers as well for municipality staff (a person who is directly involved in secondary collection). Sustainability of the project is more important, for this purpose it was added in the project plan that partner organization makes sure the collection of 50% service charges in first 03 months. 100% recovery will complete in duration of 06 months. Now the collection of service charges in some cities is 100% and some of the cities it is round about 70-80% after the 4 month of service delivery. Segregation is taking place in each city in some of the cities recyclable market is not available or available for limited items. These will be interlinking with other cities markets in future.

Trainings are very important part of the overall solid waste management project by AHKMT. Trainings are given to each and every individual who is affiliated with the project. In first phase trainings were given to staff and lane managers to mobilize the community and motivate them. Government officials were given orientation regarding the e-guard project. AHKMT also arranged some special training for school teachers and arranged different painting competition in the schools related to cleanliness and proper management of waste. Sanitary workers were trained regarding the composting procedure and application. In second phase AHKMT introduced the concept of kitchen gardening, for this sake training were given and expert person  from Arid agriculture university was consulted that what kind of seeds and vegetables can be grown with the compost made out of organic waste. Government officials were also trained and Project management committee was formulated, so that they could start Solid waste management project on their own effort in their area. In fourth phase AHKMT gave training to the unemployed youth to start small scale business out of waste as an entrepreneur. This is the intervention they introduced with experience and requirement. Training are being given to CBOs (Community based organization) for different partners NGOs as well.

The following challenges were faced during the project:

  • Community was not considering waste mismanagement as problem. It was overcome through a community mobilization.
  • At first government considered that community will not pay the service charges, therefore Model could not be successful. AHKMT set the Model through regular services.
  • Waste management was not the subject of any CBO on local level. CBO was motivated on waste collection.
  • Segregation was not taking place in practice culturally. AHKMT made them aware that Segregation could be source of income
  • Organizations were having the donor base approach. The approach was changed to launch e-guard as self sustain project.
  • Government and community were not playing their role. AHKMT highlighted the role and responsibilities of both through mobilization and formulation of POC.
  • There was not a particular primary and secondary collection system due to lack of resources. Community regularized the primary collection through monthly charges and Government facilitated efficient their secondary collection.

There were many lessen been learnt during the project such as community can be mobilize through awareness. If the model is successful and give long term impacts, it can be accepted by the government and replicated. And government can concentrate on secondary collection if primary collection of waste can be done on regular basis.

As a whole e-guard model has been accepted and replicated on national level by government, community and CBOs.  This model is self-sustained and follow the 3Rs approach (reuse, reduce and recycle). Services can be improved through a participatory approach. This approach has many positive aspects, the most important is the provision of neat and clean environment and also provide income opportunities for the unprivileged people of the society. Given below is a case–study about a person who found an opportunity working with AHKMT, a turning point in his life.