Community Participation in Urban Solid Waste Management in Karachi (Pakistan)



Case Study Report




Community Participation in Urban Waste Solid Management


Sohail Shamsi

Rehan Ahmed



October 1996







I. Introduction



1.1 Purpose of the case study


1.2 The growth of Karachi


1.3 SWM situation in Karachi


1.4 Solid Waste Treatment in Karachi


1.5 Waste disposal issues in urban areas


1.6 Recycling of solid waste in Karachi


1.7 Relevant policies related to SWM


1.8 Current participatory trends in SWM


1.9 Current attitudes of local government towards partnership with voluntary organization


1.10 Case study methodology



II. Case Study



2.1 Community background


2.1.1 Location


2.1.2 History


2.1.3 Demographic Data


2.1.4 Socio-economic conditions


2.1.5 Cultural and ethnic composition


2.1.6 Occupational Profile


2.1.7 Educational status


2.1.8 Organizations in community


2.2 Solid waste management situation in the community


2.2.1 Previous and present SWM system


2.2.2 Solid waste management status in the area


2.2.3 Composition of waste


2.2.4 SWM situation before the project


2.2.5 Existence of funk shops


2.2.6 Awareness, attitude, and practices


2.3 Previous attempts for improvement of SWM situation



III. Revival of SWM system by NGO



3.1 Selection criteria by NGO


3.2 Work methodology for revival of SWM system


3.3 NGO strategy


3.4 Other projects in the community


3.5 Community management approaches


3.5.1 General


3.5.2 Social preparation


3.5.3 Management


3.5.4 Finance


3.5.5 Implementation


3.5.6 Linkages


3.6 Dimensions related to waste management


3.6.1 Affordability of the residents


3.6.2 Gender participation


3.6.3 Participation by marginal and minority groups


3.6.4 Assessment of environmental awareness


3.6.5 Success of awareness and information campaign


3.6.6 Service coverage


3.6.7 Technical innovations


3.6.8 Repair and maintenance of equipment


3.6.9 Environmental impacts


3.6.10 Cost Recovery


3.6.11 Linkages with the secondary services


3.6.12 Community based information dissemination


3.6.13 Community Ordinances


3.6.14 Religious involvement


3.6.15 Selection of volunteers


3.6.16 Identification of community leaders


3.7 Degree of success



IV. Findings and conclusions









V. References







1.1 Purpose of the Case Study


Community based waste management is often considered a promising strategy for improving the environmental conditions of low income settlements. One approach emphases that the people should radically change their attitude and habits towards solid waste collection and disposal. The other approach emphasize that more income opportunities in recycling should be created as the only way to have a sustainable garbage collection service. Both approaches are lines of thought assuming that the community through its leaders and organizations are able to initiate and enforce lasting changes of habits. Furthermore the community is able to plan and manage waste collection/recycling enterprises. The ability of formal and informal leaders to influence and organize their community members is indeed one of the factors underlying successful projects. The case study mentioned in this report is in line with the hypothesis that NGOs and CBOs can improve the social waste management approaches in a community.


The purpose of the research under UWEP 12 is to investigate the social management approaches regarding community based waste management services in urban low income settlements in developing countries likes Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The case study in Karachi, Pakistan is selected from Ghousia Colony which is a low income regularized slum settlement where majority of people are fro low income groups. Ghousia Colony has been selected since it fulfilled the basic social and community management approaches which are in operation and which have resulted in actions to improve the solid waste collection and disposal situation. The services and project has also been fully accepted by the community and the project has gone through with the launching and growth phase. It is now in the maturation phase where people are participating the waste management as a matter of routine. Furthermore the other advantage for selecting it as a focus of research is that the area is located in a major town of the country from where information can be obtained through available resources.


1.2 The Growth of Karachi


Karachi is the largest urban center of Pakistan with an area of 3365 sq. km. housing about 12 million people and is growing at a tremendous growth rate of about 6 percent which is twice the national growth rate. Half of the population growth is attributed towards the natural growth and the remaining half due to mass influx of people from upcountry and neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma and Afghanistan. Phenomenal increase in population has taken place in Karachi during the recent years. The fact can be confirmed from the figures that before independence in 1947, Karachi was a small city with a population of less than half a million and was considered to be the most cleanest city of the Indo-Pak sub-continent. In terms of growth, Karachi has grown 75 times in 100 years and 18 times in 40 years. The population density greatly varies in the city but in central urban area it is around 2800 persons/ sq. km., while the overall urban density is about 1524 persons/ sq.km.


Culturally the population of Karachi is heterogeneous in nature consisting of the ethnic groups from all the four provinces in Pakistan and Kashmir. A vast majority is also from the illegal migrants of the neighboring countries. In terms of religion 97 % of the population of the city is Muslim, besides a small percentage of minorities includes 2% Christians, 1% Hindus and others. Karachi is a conglomeration of various ethnic groups and backgrounds and can be rightly termed as a cosmopolitan city or a mini Pakistan which is the meeting point of all provincial cultures.


Due to shortage of housing stock for the lower income group and mass migration taking place, innumerable slums and squatter have emerged in Karachi which houses about 40% of the city's population. It is expected that by the end of this century approx. 50% of the total city's inhabitants will be living in these squatter settlements. In 1980 there were 362 identified slum settlements or 'katchi abadies'. In 1996 there are more than 532 regularizable slums. For a long time the Government has not recognized the informal system of low income housing and slums and attempted to remove these illegal settlements by bulldozing them and settling the squatters in official colonies like Landhi and Korangi. With the growing time the number of slums assumed enormous proportions and the capacity of local authority dwindled. Moreover the katchi abadies acquired political prestige on account of their number. The Government thus bowed to the doctrine of necessity and adopted the international approach of upgrading, regularization and legalization of slums.


The 1980 housing survey revealed that 76% of the housing units in Karachi are small with one or two rooms. On an average 7 persons per household is witnessed with an occupancy of 3 persons per room. The survey further revealed that 64% of the population in urban areas live in their own houses. The development and provision of basic infra-structure facilities and utilities like water supply, sewerage, solid waste management, electricity etc. have not kept pace with the population growth and urbanization. The city can be broadly divided into three type of localities i.e. high, middle and low income localities based on the general socio-economic situation. Almost all slums and katchi abadies are low income settlements.


1.3 SWM Situation in Karachi


In Karachi around twenty different agencies and organization are working for solid waste management including five District Municipal Corporations, seven Cantonment Boards, Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Steel, Port Qasim, Civil Aviation Authority, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate, Pakistan Railways etc. However over 80% of the total city area is being managed by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation though five DMCs. The Health Department in DMCs and SWM Department at KMC manages the overall solid waste management in the metropolitan area through a staff strength over 12,000. The municipal refuse collection vehicles include open and covered refuse vans, compactors, multi loaders and arm roll containers. The municipality collect the solid waste from the communal bins and dispose it to the dumping site. There are many informal dumping sites in Karachi which are spread over in all the districts. KMC spends around Rs. 354 million per annum on waste collection and disposal out of which only Rs. 70 million or twenty percent is recovered. Despite of this high expenditures, the existing level of sanitation is far below the acceptable minimum standards.


The per capita solid waste generation rate was calculated in 1984 covering low, middle and high income areas and was found to be 0.26 kg/capita/day. The same was calculated again in 1991 and was found to be 0.34 kg. The total solid waste generation in Karachi is calculated to be around 5588 tons per day. Recent studies have revealed that approx. 4528 tons/ day (81%) of the solid waste generated is from residential areas while 522 tons/day (9%) is generated from commercial centers and industries, 359 tons/day (6%) is from street cleaning and 179 tons/day (4%) is misc. waste.


The primary collection of waste is done from the households and generating sources to the communal bins and was assessed to have a collection frequency of 90%, while 10 % remains to be collected from the municipal area. The total waste storage capacity at the secondary storage is around 4200 tons/ day. The waste recovered from the secondary storage is assessed to be around 700 tons/ day or 17 % of the total waste stored. The quantities of waste remained at the secondary storage site is around 3500 tons/ day. The municipal vehicles manages to pick up only 1800 tons/day (51%) while uncollected waste is around 1700 tons/ day (49%) of the net stored waste.



1.4 Solid Waste Treatment in Karachi


No treatment of solid waste is being done at Karachi. In 1985, 400 tons/day Farooq Composting plant was constructed on 18 acres of land at North Karachi land dumping site. This second hand Irish plant functioned till 1989 and since then is lying idle. Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) has confiscated the property and plany and has twice put on sale. So far nobody has bought the plant/ land.


The incinerator facilities are planned for Karachi to treat the hazardous hospital waste. Two incinerators each of 10 tons capacity costing Rs. 31 million has been imported from USA and is lying at the port to be erected in near future at sewage treatment plant sites. Besides no waste treatment facilities are planned for mechanical treatment.


There is no sanitary landfill site functioning at Karachi. 8 acres of land dumping site at North Karachi has long been exhausted. 100 acres of landfill site at Korangi and 1600 acres at Jam Ckakro near Surjani Town are planned under ADB loan but none is functional. Another site of 3000 acres at Dhabeji was identified by the previous municipal administrator. No planning and design of the site has been done so far.




1.5 Waste Disposal Issues in Urban Areas


The secondary waste storage/ communal bins include RCC bins, open masonry bins, circular GI bins and armroll steel containers which are insufficient to store the generated and collected waste. The survey conducted revealed that over 1300 informal/ open dump sites are present in Karachi which are polluting and posing great threat to human health and in addition causing proliferation of rodents and insects. In absence of appropriate waste disposal facilities, the solid waste is being dumped at unidentified places in the city. Waste burning is a common phenomenon found in the city to reduce the volume of waste. This is mostly being done by the sweepers themselves.


1.6 Recycling of Solid Waste in Karachi


Out of the total solid waste generated in Karachi, 925 tons per day or 17% is being retained by the households and users. Out of the total waste generated approx. 89.9% is either reusable, recyclable or compostable. Recyclable waste is sold by the households and generators to the street hawkers or 'peddlers' who roam on the streets shouting for buying of recyclable and in turn sell the collected recyclable to the middle dealers who deal in almost all waste items. These middle dealers supply separated waste material to the main dealers, who maintain a continuous supply to the recycling industries. It is estimated that around 300,000 people are directly or indirectly involved in recycling of solid waste in Karachi. It is assessed that annually around 44,500 tons of bread, 41,000 tons of bones, 20,000 tons of glass, 3300 tons of metals 245,000 tons of paper, 116,500 tons of plastic, 23,000 tons of textile, 1600 tons of wood and 994,000 tons of organic waste is produced in Karachi out of which over 50% is collected and recycled.


1.7 Relevant Policies related to SWM


The municipal policies regarding solid waste management is covered under the Sindh Local Government Ordinance (SLGO) 1979 which has been amended from time to time. The specific fines, offenses and penalties are missing. At present no direct taxation regarding solid waste is imposed on the generators. The schedule II, Part II of the SLGO 1979 refers to the compulsory functions of the municipality and describes collection, removal, treatment and disposal of refuse as the responsibility of the municipal corporation. Furthermore the Bylaws and Rules framed under the city of Karachi Municipal Act 1933 are also applicable which describes the rules related to protection of municipal property, regulation of municipal markets etc. The Bye laws on prevention of Nuisance 1976 were framed and made effective in 1976 which was conferred by section 91 of the Sindh Peoples Local Ordinance 1972. The Bylaws highlight the removal of trade refuse and offensive matter and provision of dust bins and refuse chutes in buildings.


1.8 Current Participatory Trends in SWM


SWM has never been on a top priority service for NGOs and CBOs in the city compared to water supply and sanitation. The reason is non awareness of the problems and solutions as well as the low publicity potential in waste management. Solid waste collection by communities was initiated in many slums but the process slowly faded out mostly due to inappropriate technique and lack of creating awareness among the residents.


Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) is the prime NGO which undertook the task of collection and disposal of garbage in Orangi area in 1984. During the phase of community development and initiation of infra-structure development projects in Orangi area, OPP realized that solid waste is one of the main aspect that needs to be addressed if any other development work is undertaken. Having no experience on the subject, OPP contacted the sweepers and with the community leaders/ lane managers organized the garbage collection system in some areas. Sweepers used to collect the garbage daily from the households and dispose in the communal bins/ heaps. The system slowly failed as OPP/ community leaders provided no incentives to the sweepers and there was no control/ participation by the municipality officers. In the second phase and as an alternative OPP advised the households through pamphlets to construct the communal dustbins on self help basis. People didn't participated financially for this community facility as they were not convinced of its importance. Again OPP advised the households to keep the garbage in the used oil canisters, make few holes at the bottom and burn the garbage in the house. Alternatively they also advised that garbage should be kept in pits within the household and should be covered with earth. Both these options miserably failed due to being inappropriate and non technical.


It was only in 1988 and again in 1989 that the municipality assisted the NGOs and CBOs in cleaning up of the areas through Weekly Cleanliness campaign organized by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (M.Q.M) a local political partly in power at that time in Karachi. During the campaign, tools and equipment for collection of waste were provided by the municipality. The young and teenage boys sweeper the lanes, streets and painted the foot paths. The communal bins were cleared, cleaned, disinfected and painted. The garbage heaps were cleared by the municipality. Accumulated waste heaps were lifted, transported and disposed by the KMC staff.


Through their own initiatives many NGOs and CBOs have started SWM collection and disposal services. Orangi Pilot Project in Orangi Town area, CBO in Turk Colony, Baldia Town and at many other locations were initiated but stopped functioning mainly due to lack of technical know how and motivation factor. Two years back UNICEF partly supported primary collection of solid waste project in Karachi. Six NGOs were technically and financially supported including Karachi Administrative Women Welfare Society (KAWWS) in Karachi Administrative Society area, Association for Protection of Environment (APE) in Ghousia Colony, Society for Conservation of Environment (SCOPE) in Labor Colony, Landhi, Anjuman-e- Falah-e-Bahbud-e-C.P. Berar Colony in C.P. Berar Colony and H.E.L.P. in Neelam Colony. UNICEF organized training program for the NGOs, provided technical support through community education material.


1.9 Current Attitudes of Local Government Towards Partnership with Voluntary Organization


With the passage of time the municipal officers are understanding the need of partnership and cooperation from local communities, voluntary and civic organizations, NGOs and CBOs, yet no action has been taken in this regard till today. ADB has highlighted the need of having an essential component of community participation in the recently concluded Karachi Urban Development Project. In this project community education material was prepared on solid waste management as well as on slum up gradation and infra-structure components. The Consultant has prepared and submitted mass education material and material to be utilized by voluntary organizations. But KMC has not contacted any NGOs and CBOs in this regard. The current attitude of municipality is limited to collecting garbage heaps from the urban areas and disposing it off to any nearby places. The municipality attend the high income areas on priority. At many places in the city the CBO pressurize the municipality for regular collection of waste, but it is often variable and for few times only in a month. The six NGOs working for the SWM project tried to establish contacts with the DMC, the results and outcome were different in different areas.


1.10 Case Study Methodology


The methodology used for the case study at Ghousia Colony is described as under:

  1. Review of available literature, data and information.
  2. Informal and formal interviews with the Community leaders, religious leaders, minority representatives and women.
  3. Informal interviews with the municipal staff.
  4. Informal interviews with the sample households.
  5. Discussion with the CBO's and NGO's representatives
  6. Focus Group Discussions were held in which homogenous group of participants were selected and invited by the researcher. Specific topics were discussed and outcome of tasks undertaken by the community/ NGO were assessed.


1.11 Limitation of the Case Study


During the course of study following limitations were observed :