Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Garbage dumps cause water, air pollution creating health hazardos 

09 Augustus 2010 03:17:33

Garbage dumps cause water, air pollution creating health hazardos

Can be used for energy production

Sohail Rashid

Garbage dumps due to population explosions and over consumption in urban cities such as Islamabad and Rawalpindi made citizens to live in a polluted environment that causes diseases and stink.

Various studies say that on an average distance of every 2 kilometres in cities Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore, there is a garbage dump. Garbage pickers usually select a point on road side where they dump garbage and city government dumpers shift that load to another site away from the city.

“By the time, they do it, it is already too late and people get suffered from the polluted and stinky heaps of garbage. They complain of skill irritation, breathing problems and some diseases,” said Muhammad Sajid, a resident of a dumpsite locality near Pirwadhai.

The studies show health deterioration in areas where there is no proper mechanism of garbage disposal. Amoebic diseases have been found concentrated in soil and air in proximity to these urban garbage dumps.

There are many other problems which are caused by garbage. These include contamination of ground water and surface water. These garbage dumps can also add to the acidity in water and even in the air. Landfills can also cause sealing of the ground surface, which leads to flooding. Garbage dumps are a hazard to human life.

The studies further say garbage contaminates water resources and causes floods in Nullahs such as Nullah Leh touching most parts of Rawalpindi. Rainwater percolates through garbage. Inappropriate disposal of sewage and garbage leads to substantial deterioration of ground water.  Unfortunately, the growing population and inadequacy of municipal water supplies led to the exploitation of ground water for public drinking.

Many of the bacteria and chemicals which leak from garbage dumps also become airborne and pollute the air. If the garbage is exposed to air, localized air pollution is a likely result.  The studies suggest a number of ways to reduce garbage dumps from residential areas. First of all there is need of infrastructure designed to address these problems. Most people are willing to cooperate with disposal regulations as they don’t want to live with the results of garbage accumulation.

The studies found that garbage could also be an energy source. There is a plan being promoted in New York City to build high-temperature incinerators which generate electricity. Garbage is burned in these incinerators and actually creates electricity. In this way, the garbage needs not to be disposed; instead, it becomes very useful.

“If we do not want to use it for some creative purpose, at least it should be disposed off safely and properly to eradicate the risk of spreading diseases as well as to provide our people with fresh and pure air to breath in,” said Dr Asif Qureshi, an expert on environment and energy.