KARACHI: The National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) on Monday expressed serious concern about the municipal waste disposal work had come to a virtual halt in several areas of Karachi during the COVID-19 emergency lockdown.
In a press statement issued here on Monday, NFEH President and Standing Committee Convenor on Environment Federation of Pakistan (EFP) Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCI) Naeem Qureshi said that halting the waste disposal work in Karachi during a serious health emergency like COVID-19 was simply a recipe for disaster.
“We are inviting a disaster if we stop municipal waste disposal in Karachi during an epidemic as resultantly, issues related to public health will get worsened,” he said.
Qureshi said that the waste disposal work should be quickened during an epidemic as for the purpose of minimal human resource and maximum mechanical means should be utilised to protect the health of the municipal staffers.
“Most importantly, municipal workers who do waste disposal work should be provided with all the safety gear to protect them against the viral disease,” he said.
He said that the Sindh Government’s Local Government Department, municipal agencies, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB), or Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), were not on the list of government institutions which had been shut down during the COVID-19 emergency.
“The very reason these institutions are not on the government’s shutdown list is that they have to provide seamless municipal services in the province as the most important service in this situation relates to waste disposal work,” he said.
The NFEH president said that waste disposal work shouldn’t be stopped in a city like Karachi that generates 12,000 tons’ garbage daily. “We must resume waste disposal work to safeguard public health at the earliest,” he added.
He appealed to Sindh chief minister, Local Government minister, and Sindh chief secretary to take stock of the situation and order resumption of the waste disposal work in the port city. “Doing so is also in the best interest of the proactive campaign of the Sindh Government to tackle the COVID-19 health emergency in the province,” Qureshi concluded.