In 2010, the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) launched Lahore Waste Management Company following section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984. The purpose of this company was to handle waste being generated in the city. LWMC has come with the aim that Lahore will be among the cleanest cities on the Earth by ensuring a sustainable, green, clean, and safe environment.
The oldest disposal site in Lahore is Mehmood Booti which is situated near Ring Road and has been used as an open dumping site since 1998. The area of the dumping site is 16 hectares and almost 13.14 million tonnes of garbage has been discarded. The compositions of waste include 55%-60% biodegradable material. The huge piles of waste can be seen from the distance because the height of accumulated waste has crossed 80 feet from the ground surface. During the rainy season, contaminated leachate is produced that finds its way to underground water and surface water resources.
It is reported in the news that Lahore Waste Management Company is planning to revamp the open dumping site. The plan includes turning the dumping site into the park by plantation of indigenous plants and growing vegetation so that negative environmental effects and health-related problems could be avoided.
Point Source of Pollution
Mehmood Booti itself is a point source for environmental pollution and health problems in Lahore. Huge waste piles at open dumping sites are producing toxic gases, contaminated leachate with heavy metals, and bad odor ultimately leading to health problems. The waste piles may cause vector-borne diseases in the surrounding areas.
Negative impacts by Open Dumping site on the Environment of Lahore
Mehmood Booti is an open dumping site with neither leachate nor emitting gases collection system. The amount of waste being accumulated there is producing methane, carbon dioxide, and other toxic gases. These emitting gases are polluting the air of Lahore. Air pollution due to the presence of toxic gases and dust particles from waste is affecting locals.
Scavengers are also having easy access to the dumping site. The routine work of heavy machinery near dumping sites is causing noise pollution for nearby residents.
Runoff from waste is highly contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic soluble compounds. The leachate produced from heaps of waste could possibly pollute groundwater sources.
Hence, Mehmood Booti is a point source of air, water, and soil pollution in Lahore.
The land area around Mehmood booti is cheaper than anywhere in Lahore. The majority of people living near open dumping sites have low-income sources and they are not aware of the hazards caused by waste in that area.
The emission of gases from the landfill site is causing air pollution with an extremely bad odor. The health issues common among the residents include respiratory diseases, vomiting, nausea, malaria, and skin diseases, etc. Some cases include diseases related to the liver and cancer.
Published Research on Mehmood Booti Open Dumping Site
There is published research about the ecological assessment of impacts caused by Mehmood Booti site. The research indicated that the heaps of waste at open dumping sites are causing water pollution, the residents are suffering respiratory problems and gases are being emitted from the dumping site responsible for air pollution. Leachate is contaminating water sources.
Municipal solid waste if left untreated will definitely cause environmental and health problems. In Lahore, the waste is being produced in tons every day and collected by LWMC. The open dumping site in Lahore is causing air, water, and soil pollution in the surrounding areas. Respiratory diseases are common among residents. New landfill sites with properly designed infrastructure could help the city from the hazards of Mehmood booti site.
The Punjab Government should pay attention to Mehmood Booti dumping site in Lahore and work on the disposal plan of solid waste. It is an open dumping site so there is a dire need for proper infrastructure for the handling of the waste and leachate being produced there especially during the rainy season. Waste to energy technology could be followed to reduce the waste amount.
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– MS Environmental Science
– Content Writer
Researcher, Nature Lover, and Environmentalist