Pakistan has a waste management problem. Pakistan is generating about 48.5 million tons of solid waste every year, and this is increasing by 2% each year. This creates an opportunity to organize waste collectors, and fulfil the PTI’s mandate of a ‘Clean & Green’ Pakistan. Out of the solid waste that is produced in Pakistan, nearly 60 – 70% of this waste is produced in big cities, with Karachi producing 9,900 tons of waste per day. The traditional way of collecting waste in the cities is through big truck, donkey carts, pull-carts and various other forms of transport.
The role of scavengers is extremely important in collecting recyclable waste in urban cities like Karachi. By estimates around 100,000 scavengers earn a living through collecting recyclable in Karachi alone earning up to Rs 250 per day. There is a need to organize these waste collectors. Brazil has been successful in formalizing the waste pickers by introducing legislation at the Federal level to replace repressive policies on waste picking with new inclusive policies that give legal backing to redistributive measures and social recognition of informal waste picker organizations. There is a need to develop similar policies in Pakistan and work through ‘cooperatives’ to organize the informal waste pickers.
The rickshaw garbage collector is a vehicle that is used to collect waste disposal from areas where big trucks cannot reach. Currently, Peshawar has introduced rickshaw garbage collection for narrow streets, and then transport this waste to collection sites. This mode of garbage collection has been successfully used in neighboring countries, where women have been provided opportunities to earn a living through collecting and sorting out waste.
Rickshaw garbage collection does not necessarily have to have a motor attached to the vehicle, and certain models can be operated manually. The rickshaw garbage collection vehicles should have a dry, wet and recyclable boxes to make it easier to sort out the waste at the household level.