Gwadar: Turning 150 tons of solid waste into fortunes

By Yasir Habib Khan | Gwadar Pro Apr 2, 2023

GWADAR, Apr. 2 (Gwadar Pro) - Residential and commercial activities litter Gwadar with 150 tons of solid waste every day. Due to a lack of sustainable solid waste management, solid waste is posing threats to human life. However, this challenge may prove to be a great source of opportunities in terms of income and employment generation for the companies and individuals involved in solid waste recycling.

Currently, the majority of solid waste is dumped in the open at undeclared landfills or open grounds in Gwadar. Although most of the components of solid waste are inert and useful for reuse and recycling, others may prove highly hazardous and fatal to the general public.

Gwadar Municipal Corporation official told Gwadar Pro that under CPEC, Gwadar Smart Environment Sanitation System and Landfill Project costing $14 million is in pipeline. It is not yet clear when the project will be set in motion, he added.  

“The project aims to establish a smart sanitation and solid waste management system to ensure sustainable development in Gwadar City. The project includes mechanical cleaning and manual cleaning for which sprinkle trucks and sweeper trucks would be utilized. The project also includes a container collection system, manual collection system, and transportation system. Sealed garbage containers would be placed in public and residential areas. Door-to-door collection of solid waste management collection personnel would be arranged,” he explained.   

“A major component of solid waste is the biodegradable waste that does not carry any price tag and is the worst of all sorts of waste as it decomposes soon after being dumped. Insects and pests harbour organic waste, causing a foul smell due to aerobic decomposition. It also emits greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. The best way to recycle the organic solid waste is through anaerobic fermentation into a closed chamber to get biogas as a source of clean energy and decomposed organic manure besides earning carbon credits,” he added. 

A Gwadar Development Authority environmentalist said that solid waste is primarily composed of metal, paper, plastic, rubber, animal waste, food waste, grass, leaves, textile waste, glass, bones, stones, etc. Primarily, waste can be classified into municipal solid waste and hazardous waste, however, in terms of its recycling potential, solid waste can be classified into metal, plastic, paper, glass and rubber items, he added. If recycling companies are engaged in Gwadar, all these items have got a price tagged to them and are sold and processed through recycling to produce useful products for the market.

“At present, solid waste collection in Pakistan stands at only 50% of the total generated waste. Recycling is among the most effective means through which solid waste can be reduced and natural resources can be conserved by reusing materials and putting them back into productive use,” he added. 

A majority of plastic is released as waste due to inadequate recycling and incineration facilities. Pakistan ranks sixth in the world and third in Asia in terms of plastic pollution.

The government of Pakistan has enacted Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA) in 1997. Section 11 of the Act states “No person shall discharge or emit or allow the discharge or emission of any effluent or waste or air pollutants or noise in an amount, concentration or level which is more than the National Environmental Quality Standards.”

PEPA and the provincial Environment Protection Acts, rules and policies provide for a legal framework for waste management sustainably but on the ground nothing seems to be in favour of such institutional provisions.

“Waste is dealt with through multiple means like recycling, dumping and burning. Recycling is the ideal way of dealing with solid waste as it is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable option. At present, Europe recycles 41% of its municipal waste while the United States recycles 32% of its waste,” the GDA official said. 

Globally, countries produce about 4 billion tons of solid waste, of which 1.2 billion tons comprise municipal waste. Of the total, only 1 billion tons are utilised through various means and 600 million tons are recycled. Moreover, almost 200 million tons of solid waste is utilised for energy generation.

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