Current Scenario of Solid Waste in Pakistan

Global situation of solid wastes: Current global municipal solid waste generation levels are approximately 1.3 billion tons per year and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tons per year.

Current Scenario of Solid Waste in Pakistan

By 2025 this represents a significant increase in per capita waste generation rates from 1.2kg to 1.42kg per person per day in next fifteen years.

Solid waste in Pakistan

Pakistan generates 48 tons of solid waste per year, which has been increasing 2% annually. Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure creating serious problems. Most of the waste is dumped or buried on vacant lots, threatening health and welfare of general population. Government of Pakistan estimates that 77,000 tons of solid waste is generated per day and mostly from major metropolitan areas.

Karachi is major contributor producing 13,000 tons of municipal waste daily. About 60-70% of solid waste in the cities of Pakistan is collected. Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan, use three sanitary landfill sites while Lahore the country’s second largest city has two landfills. Other major cities plan to build proper landfill sites. In many areas, solid waste is simply dumped outside the city limits.

Solid waste management situation in Pakistan is matter of concern as more than 5 million people to die each year due to waste related disease. Being 6th most populated country in world there is lot of consumerism and with it a great deal of waste being produced.

Like other developing countries, waste management sector in Pakistan is plagued by wide variety of social, cultural, legislative and economic issues. In the country, more waste is being produced than the number of facilities available to manage it.

In Punjab Lahore is only city with proper solid waste management, treatment and disposal system, which was outsourced to Turkish companies Albayrak and Oz Pak. Similar system is also planned for other big cities of Punjab. In Sindh Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) infrastructure and service delivery program has provided to the Sindh Cities Development Program (SCIP).

SCIP which aims to improve solid waste management services in 20 secondary sites. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water and Sanitation Service Peshawar (WSSP) is planning to build a sanitary landfill. Baluchistan with a population of 6.9 million has no significant infrastructure for waste management system.

Solid Waste Generation in Major Cities of Pakistan

CityPopulationSolid waste Generation per day in Tons

Major types of solid waste

1.     Organic waste: Biological and degradable waste.

2.     Inorganic waste: Minerals and non-biodegradable synthetic products.

3.     Sanitary waste: Used medical equipment, toilet paper and sanitary pads among others.

Physical Composition of Municipal Solid Waste by Percent in Pakistan

Ash, Bricks and Dirt18%
Food Waste30%

Contributing factors

    • It is due to lack of urban planning.
    • There is no proper waste collection system.
    • Inadequate waste management equipment.
    • Waste is dumped on streets.
    • Different types of waste is not collected separately.
    • Lack of awareness and education.
    • There are no controlled sanitary landfill sites, open burning is common.
  • Citizen are not aware of the relationship between reckless waste disposal and resulting environmental and public health problems.

Effect on Environment

Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems. Some waste will eventually rot, but not all and in the process, it may smell or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to greenhouse effect. Leachate produced as a waste decompose may cause pollution.

The waste on roads, canals and open sites allows for ideal environment for various flies to thrive which effects both human health and environment. The poor solid waste management in Pakistan has caused numerous disease and environmental pollution.

When solid waste is disposed of on land in open dumps or in improper designed landfills, it causes following impact on the environment.

    •  Ground water contamination by the leachates generated by the waste dump.
    •   Surface water contamination by run off from the waste dump.
    •   Bad odor, pests, rodents and windblown litter in and around the waste.
    •   Generation of inflammable gas (methane) within the waste dump.
    •    Bird menace above the waste dump, which affects the flight of aircraft.
    •   Flies with waste dump.
    •    Erosion and stability problems relating to slopes of the waste dump.
    •  Epidemics through stray animals.
  •  Acidity to the surrounding soil and release of greenhouse gas.

Effect on Human Health

People consume polluted water they get sick there is no getting around it. Contaminated water causes viral diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.

It can cause skin condition like scabies and trachoma. Increase risk of contracting with salmonella, which causes typhoid fever, food poisoning, enteric fever, gastroenteritis and other major illness.

Birth defects and reproductive disorders: reproductive effects associated with landfill sites have been extensively reached include low birth weight (less than 2500g), fetal and infant mortality, spontaneous abortion and occurrence of birth defects.

Eye and respiratory infections resulting from exposure to infected dust especially during landfill operations. Skin and blood infections resulting from direct contact with waste and from infected wounds.

Cancer: several geographical comparison studies have investigated cancer mortality and incidence around the waste sites. Increased frequency of cancer in countries containing hazardous waste.

Sites was found in studies particularly for gastrointestinal, oesophagal, stomach, colon and rectal cancer. Different diseases that results from the bites of animals feeding on the waste. Intestinal infections that are transmitted by flies feeding on the waste.


The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has announced a competitive upfront Tariff of U.S $ 10007/kwh for waste to energy projects based on 25-year operational period, with overall capacity of 250MW where share to each province and federal territory has been kept at 50MW for each. The construction period for these power plants is limited to 24months.

By Jaffar Iqbal

Welcome! I am passionate about Agriculture and food security, Graduated in Agriculture. I love to work in the field of Agronomy and sustainable farming.