Monsoon approaching: Absence of drainage at Sabzi Mandi or
Poor sanitation in Sabzi Mandi: 20000 lives threatened
By Shaista Malik, Afifa Sharif and Zahra Amrish
ISLAMABAD, July 13, 2010: More than 20,000 workers, engaged in trading of fruits and vegetables in fruit and vegetable market (Sabzi Mandi) of Islamabad, are vulnerable to fatal diseases due to unhygienic conditions in the coming monsoon. Poor sanitation becomes quite deplorable as soon as the monsoon approaches. The smell of rotten fruit and vegetable becomes intolerable and becomes the reason of many diseases e.g. hepatitis, cholera and diarrhoea. While talking to this agency a local merchant said, “there is only one filtration plant in this whole area; we have no choice but to drink contaminated water which is eventually affecting our health badly”.
“The cleanliness of this market is better if compared to any other fruit & vegetable market in Pakistan” said Tahir Ayub the general secretary of Anjuman whole sale Commission agents Islamabad. “There is no proper packing system that’s why a great amount of fruits and vegetables is wasted. This waste is not properly managed, that’s why it creates this shabby condition of the market”, he added.
“As you can see the depreciated conditions of mandi portray the depiction of negligence from the concerned authority” said Tahir Ayub “who is not lending its ear towards the continued complaints by the merchants”.
“Government authorities do visit frequently over here and continuously promise for the betterment but don’t fulfill it and their response is never encouraging” added the general secretary.
Almost 2o to 22 thousand people work here in morning times while there are above 600 people who work as road side vendors. These road side vendors are more vulnerable to fatal diseases due to unhygienic conditions. Sewerage system which was planted back in 1983 is no more meeting the requirements of this area and it has not been improved or even repaired since then. The most common disease which is found among people who work in this market is hepatitis.
Tahir Ayub told that an area for the dispensary has been allocated by the authorities which will be built from the Association fund. While talking about the cleanliness of the market he said that they pay about 5 to 10 thousand rupees monthly from their own fund to the CDA workers but still scruffy roads littered with rotten fruit and vegetable are very obvious.
“We are in danger of catching more diseases in the coming season of monsoon,” said Mr. Habibullah Khan, 49-year-old road side vender, while sitting on foot path to sell the fruits in the Fruit Mandi. This season directly affects us as we are sitting around the garbage and filth, he added.
Absence of clean water makes me patient of Hepatitis C”, said Mr. Gulsher Zaman, a depressed 65-year-old fruit trader. I spend my most of time in this garbage, he added
On a query regarding preparation for coming monsoon and its affects on Sabzi mandi worker, Mr. Ramzan Sajid, Deputy Director, (PR & Protocol), Capital Development Authority (CDA) states, “Non-cooperation of traders is the major cause of this poor condition of Sabzi mandi. We have deputed more than 130 workers for cleanness of this market—daily at six’o clock our staff cleans the sewerage lines and at 2’o clock again they collect the garbage. But as the market opens, the shop keepers start throwing garbage in the sewerage lines. Encroachments in the mandi are also contributing to make the situation worst”.
For better and timely treatment of the mandi workers, Mr. Ramzan Sajid said, CDA has already allocated a land for dispensary. However, all the expenses on it will be borne by the trader’s association, as they promised, he explained.
Government should take serious steps to overcome the problem of sanitation in Sabzi Mandi of federal capital. However, traders and individuals should also be careful while disposing off the garbage and filth.