PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday slammed the Water and Sanitation Services Company (WSSP) and Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) for failure to take meaningful action on solid waste management.

The court warned the officials that the case will be handed over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) if effective measures were not taken to clean the city. The bench also ordered the Director-General PDA to appear before the bench on December 2 with a detailed report.

The remarks were issued by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Naseem Anwar while hearing the case relating cleanness of irrigation canals passing through the city. “The city is full of garbage dumps, what the PDA and WSSP officials are doing?”  Justice Qaiser questioned when the hearing began. “Why not they be handed over to the NAB as there is a serious dereliction of duties on solid waste management.”

This solid waste dump in Aftab Abad shows its close proximity to the houses of those who live there [image by: The third pole]

The judge went on to remark that the government servants and ministers have never visited the city. “It is not possible to clean the city while sitting in offices, the officials and ministers will have to visit the city to ensure a clean city.” The judge said that the public money is being spent on the temporary dumping points within the populated areas which also result in the spread of diseases.

Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah, the additional advocate general said that the government has launched the last phase of waste characterization and segregation study to ascertain its recycling potential. Shah added that the phase called ‘Autumn Sample Collection Study’ is being done to quantify and characterize the bio and non-biodegradable or recyclable waste. He informed the court that joins teams of WSSP and Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Peshawar is carrying out the study.

Shah informed that teams will collect up to 300 samples from across the city, segregate it and evaluate its potential for energy generation, composting and reusability. The teams have been evaluating 1000 samples collected during winter, spring and summer phases (seasons) to ascertain quantity and characteristics of waste generated during the four seasons and would compile a comprehensive report in light of the study and present to government. The study will help the government use the waste for the generation of energy and utilize it for different useful purposes.

Scavengers gather as a rubbish-laden vehicle is unloaded at new solid waste dumping site in Peshawar, quite far away from populated areas [image by: The third Pole]

He told the court that WSSP daily collects 800 tons of waste from 43 union councils that include the bio and non-biodegradable waste. “Work has already started work on the construction of sanitary landfill site at Shamshato for scientific dumping of municipal waste, its characterization and segregation. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has already successfully conducted a public hearing of its environmental impact assessment at the site.

However, the court directed the director-general of PDA to appear and submit a detail report on solid waste management and adjourned the case till December 02. The bench observed that if there was the need, the concerned minister will also be directed to appear before the court.

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