IN PICTURES | Waste Disposal and Pollution – Pakistan’s Growing Problem

Just yesterday two of Pakistan’s cities were named among world’s most polluted cities and it should now serve as a wake-up call that the challenge is growing, while we are failing to tackle the issue effectively. Faisalabad stood on number third while Lahore was number 10, both cities having the air quality far worse than internationally declared ‘safe’ standards.

Pakistan produces about 20m tonnes of waste every year. From this, half of it is dumped, burned or throw in the river. It is leading to increasing diseases, flooding and pollution. In this pictorial journey, we will try to reflect where we stand, why we need to urgently take concrete steps to fight it since with having health implications, it is also costing us economically to a great extent as well.

(photography by Hazel Thompson/Tearfund*)

*Tearfund is a British NGO working in Pakistan to improve the collection and disposal of waste and the Department for International Development has agreed to match each donation given to the NGO, up to £2m.

Mumtaz and his wife have started working as ‘environment guards’ for a community-led pilot project to clean up their area of the informal settlement. Their role is to collect rubbish from local households, to stem the tide of waste littering the environment. ‘The rubbish causes many problems like coughs, fever and other diseases,’ says Mumtaz. ‘We want our homes to be as clean as possible’
Published in | The Guardian


For years the residents of this informal settlement in Islamabad, Pakistan, have had no alternative but to dump rubbish along the banks of the nearby river. This leads to pollution and potential flooding from clogged waterways, as well as high chance of plastic waste being washed down to the oceans. Much of the plastic in the oceans comes from places with poor waste management. The British NGO Tearfund has been helping local partners to set up recycling hubs around the country
Published in | The Guardian

Discarded rubbish can block sewers and waterways and clog rivers, causing flooding when it rains and increasing the spread of waterborne diseases, making life harder for those living in poverty
Published in | The Guardian


Nida, a mother of four, works as a school cleaner but struggles to provide for her family. She’s keen to help clean up the local environment because she worries about her children coming into contact with rubbish, much of which is burned by the roadside
Published in | The Guardian

For many poor communities, the only other way to dispose of rubbish is to burn it in the streets, which causes health problems and contributes to climate change. Residents are now paid to work at the new recycling hubs, to cut down on pollution and protect their health. In Pakistan, more than a third of the population live below the poverty line and rubbish is one of their biggest challenges; 20m tonnes of it are produced every year
Published in | The Guardian

Originally published in The Guardian

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