Quetta grapples with a colossal waste generation of 1700 to 1800 tons daily, while the MCQ’s disposal capacity stands at a mere 700 to 800 tons. This glaring gap highlights the enormity of the challenge faced by the city. The inadequate number of sanitation staff further compounds the problem. In 2016, funds amounting to 3.5 crore rupees were allocated for cleaning and staff salaries. However, the geographical scope of MCQ has expanded to cover 3,500 square kilometers, rendering the funds insufficient.
The absence of recruitment for regular cleaning staff since 2007 and the lack of investment in machinery since 1994 exacerbate the crisis. MCQ lacks essential equipment such as water bowsers, excavators, and cranes. To meet international cleanliness standards, an estimated 5000 human resources, along with dumpers, trucks, loaders, and lifters, are essential. Quetta’s predicament is reminiscent of a city caught in a time warp, lacking the necessary tools to address the modern challenges of waste management.
Quetta’s waste management predicament necessitates a multifaceted approach. Urgent measures are needed to address the immediate crisis, including increased funding, recruitment of sanitation staff, and the acquisition of essential machinery. The disparity between waste generation and disposal capacity must be bridged to prevent further environmental degradation.
Until 1980, Quetta was a city that garnered admiration and was dubbed “Little Paris.” However, as the city’s population burgeoned and urbanization accelerated, waste management infrastructure failed to keep pace. In 1988, the sanitation staff, responsible for serving a population of 4 million, numbered 978. Fast forward to 2023, and the registered population has swelled to 2.5 million, with an estimated 4 million considering immigrants and those from other areas. The sanitation staff, however, has not witnessed a proportional increase.
A comprehensive long-term plan is imperative for sustainable waste management. This entails investing in modern technologies, implementing waste segregation at source, and fostering public awareness about responsible waste disposal. The city must also explore partnerships with private enterprises and leverage technological innovations to streamline waste management processes.
Quetta’s descent from “Little Paris” to a city drowning in garbage is a stark reminder of the critical need for effective waste management. Immediate action is required to alleviate the current crisis, coupled with a forward-looking strategy to ensure sustainable waste management in the years to come. The citizens of Quetta deserve a clean and healthy environment, and it is incumbent upon authorities to act swiftly and decisively to restore the city’s former glory and reputation.
Once hailed as Little Paris by the British Times, Quetta, a city nestled on the London route, is now grappling with a severe solid waste management crisis. The streets that once exuded charm are now marred by heaps of garbage, presenting a daunting challenge for its inhabitants. The issue is further exacerbated by the sheer scale of waste generated, surpassing the disposal capacity of the Metropolitan Corporation of Quetta (MCQ). In this editorial, we delve into the complexities of Quetta’s waste management crisis, exploring the historical context, current challenges, and the urgent need for both short term and long term solutions.