City’s landfill site reaches capacity | The Express Tribune


Dumping of tonnes of garbage at the city’s only landfill site at Lakhodair without taking precautionary measures has increased air pollution besides contaminating the groundwater.

The landfill site reached its capacity four years earlier than its estimated life due to poor planning and the officials have now started looking for new places.

Experts termed the gases emitting from the garbage and the contamination of groundwater extremely hazardous for human beings health.

The Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) had bought 140 acres of land at Lakhodair and made it a dumping point for garbage in 2016 as the population of Lahore city grew manifold. It had been thought at that time that there would be capacity for garbage here for the next 10 years after which a separate landfill site would be set up at another place.

However, the estimates made by the officers of the LWMC did not materialise.

It was planned to collect 2,500 tonnes of garbage daily at the dumping point but when it started collecting garbage, it has reached 5,500 tonnes instead of 2,500.

The groundwater tanks have been constructed under the dumping point, but no arrangement made so far for treating and discharging the water separately due to which the groundwater is also getting contaminated and on top of it mud formed from garbage and water is also getting into the groundwater.

On rainy days it makes it difficult for vehicles to get to the dumping site. As a solution to this problem, the waste management company dumps thousands of tonnes of debris on garbage every year so that the garbage disposal trucks reach the landfill site.

Pipes are laid inside the dumping point for the emission of toxic gases from the garbage, but they are so clogged due to lack of maintenance that they are blocking the emission of gases. Methane gas, along with other gases, is extremely dangerous to humans as well as to crops. Garbage gases are being collected and traded worldwide because biogas is very precious but the waste management company has not yet made arrangements to burn or sell it due to which air pollution is also increasing.

Lakhodair landfill site, which was supposed to be demolished in 10 years, is now in its final stages of destruction due to more than double the amount of garbage.

The waste management company could not get anything done except corresponding with the deputy commissioners in Sheikhupura and Kasur for the purchase of more land to establish an alternative garbage dumping point.

If it goes on like this for some more time, there will be no place for dumping the garbage.

About 13 years ago, the waste management company had set up a compost plant to make fertilizer from Mahmood Boti waste which was to be gradually increased.

Neither it has increased nor more compost plants been set up so far, and no agreement has been reached with the cement factories.

Environment protection department Deputy Director Ali Ijaz said if the water tanks under the dumping points are not treated and used in other places, then the groundwater will be polluted due to which chances of hepatitis C, E, liver and gastrointestinal diseases run high.

Dr Khurram of the Waste Management Company told The Express Tribune that the LWMC management started work on the improvement of the landfill site along with other works soon after he took the charge.

More than 80% of the pipes that were buried for gas leakage have been removed. Work was also underway on the rest. Planning was underway to extract and treat water in underground water tanks, he said.

Now there is a suitable place for the dumping of garbage on Lakho Deer, but land in Sheikhupura and Kasur districts will be acquired soon to get some more space.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2021.

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