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Lahore Solid Waste Management

Lahore Solid Waste Management

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Published by Mahmood Aslam
This study gives an insight view about the solid waste management system in Lahore, the project which has been started by the government to dispose off the city waste.
This study gives an insight view about the solid waste management system in Lahore, the project which has been started by the government to dispose off the city waste.

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Published by: Mahmood Aslam on Jan 24, 2010
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Key terms used in the Document

CDGL CDM USWM SWM MSWM LCL TPD UC ROI City District Government Lahore Clean Development Mechanism Urban solid waste management Solid waste management Municipal solid waste management Lahore compost Pvt limited Tons per day Union Council Return on Investment


Urban Solid Waste Management in Lahore
Pakistan is one of the most urbanized countries in South Asia region with the 35% of its population living in urban area as compared to the 29% regional average. In the same way, the annual urban growth rate is 3.5% as compared to the average of 2.4%. With a growing population like other cities, Lahore city faces the urban problem of inadequate SWMS. The basic problems with the SWMS can be broadly categorized as a) b) c) d) e) f) Insufficient official garbage collection points Insufficient waste collection equipment Non-availability of a final disposal site Lack of funds, for equipment, operations, maintenance and personnel Community reluctance to pay for the solid waste collection fees Hygiene issues

The Lahore city Government (LCG) (“Implementation Agency”), comprising an area of approximately 1.772 square kilometers and a population of approximately 6.5 million (1998 census) divided into 8 townships (Union Councils) intends to rectify the above situation through the private sector participation in an integrated SWMS implemented under the PPP modality.

Objectives of the Project
A typical solid waste management system in a country displays an array of problems, including low collection coverage and irregular collection services, crude open dumping and burning without air and water pollution control, the breeding of flies and vermin, and the handling and control of informal waste picking or scavenging activities. These public health, environmental, and management problems are caused by various factors which constrain the development of effective solid waste management systems. It is envisaged that the proposed SWMS will address the above issues and comprise of the following salient features: 1) 2) 3) 4) Labor intensive system, so as to assist in job creation Low cost system, as residents are not prepared to pay for the alternative Low technology equipment, as high technology equipment would be difficult to maintain System that makes collection points readily available to a majority of residents.

The Project also includes improvements to the existing Solid Waste Management system by incorporating better mechanisms of waste management. It is envisaged that the proposed system would be built under the Public-Private Partnership modality. The development of infrastructure for this would also provide a commercial opportunity in the form of advertising, and thus pay for themselves for their construction.


SWMS Planning
Inadequate collection and disposal of solid waste continues to pose a serious health risk to Pakistan’s population of approximately 160 million people and is an obvious cause of environmental degradation in most cities as well as well as smaller towns. Mixed municipal solid waste is dumped either indiscriminately in the neighborhoods or, if collected by a waste collection service, disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites.
Sources of Waste

There are various sources of pressure on solid waste management techniques in Pakistan. Some of these are associated with sources of waste generation and treatment at generational stages while other pressures relate to lack of available technology in managing the huge volumes of solid waste. There are two main sources of solid waste discharge in Pakistan. Municipal waste - Consisting of organic and inorganic waste (plastics, paper, glass, metal, polythene bags etc). Industrial or hospital waste - Industrial hazardous waste generated in most Pakistani cities is not separated at the source of generation and requires special methods for collection, treatment and disposal. Hazardous medical waste is a problem in every city of Pakistan. Approximately 250,000 tons of medical waste is annually produced from all sorts of health care facilities. Mixing of most of the hospital waste with municipal solid waste worsens the problem. Some hospitals and municipalities burn their wastes, which results in the production of large amount of highly toxic gases.
The present condition of collection and disposal services

Based on a survey conducted in 2004, Pakistan generated 54,888 tons of solid waste per day—25,780 tons from urban areas and 29,108 tons from rural areas. This amounts to a total of 20 million tons per year. It is projected that the population of Pakistan in 2014 will be 197.77 million and based on the current annual population growth rate of 2.61 percent it is estimated that the country’s solid waste will go up to 71,000 tons per day, which amounts to 25 million tons per year.


In cities such as Lahore and Karachi, waste disposal typically accounts for 20-25% of municipal expenditures. Solid waste collection by government owned and operated services in Pakistan’s cities currently averages only 50% of waste quantities generated. About 12,500 tons per day waste remains uncollected. Demand for services will grow by about 4% per year as urban populations grow. Demand will also grow as per capita waste generation rates grow at the anticipated rate of one to three percent per year based on increased domestic production and income.
Disposal of Waste

Public compliance with municipal laws is poor. Littering and clandestine dumping is evident. Solid waste collection services are also hampered by the improper discharge of household wastes. All residential, industrial, institutional, and commercial solid waste streams are mixed. Only construction and demolition debris is kept separate during the collection and transportation stages, although they are co-disposed with the other solid wastes. Disposal is by open dumping, primarily on flood plains and into ponds, at sites that typically have less than one year of capacity. Few official disposal sites are used on a long-term basis.
Alternatives available for Disposal

Most of the cities have no system of recording all the loads of refuse as they are delivered to the disposal site, so clandestine dumping on open lots or paid landfill of privately owned land is substantial. Alternative 1: Organic waste composting Methane production would be avoided by breaking down organic matter through aerobic processes. Composting activity includes processes of municipal waste classification, composting and automation monitoring, which require high technology. It demands high initial capital investment and operational & maintenance costs. The sales of generated compost faces marketing risks and the ROI (return on investment) cannot reach the minimum hurdle rate expectations. Considering the financial barrier sand market risks composting without CDM support is not feasible. Alternative 2: Waste incineration Waste incineration is suitable for low humidity and high caloric value wastes. A study was carried out on the municipal solid waste of Lahore metropolitan to ascertain whether the waste of Lahore municipality is suitable for incineration or not. The study reviled no installation of incinerator at any landfill site in Lahore due to higher moisture content varying from 50% to 70%, high ash content ranging between 15% to 25% and volatile combustible content of only 15% to 20% in the Lahore MSW. This NESPAK study was conducted under the orders of the Honorable Lahore high Court where the residents challenged the project. Moreover installation of incinerators at landfill site would be an expensive option, technically more challenging to operate and environmentally undesirable. Thus, incineration at present is not a viable option for waste disposal in Lahore.

Alternative 3: Disposal of the waste on a landfill with electricity generation Sanitary landfill or the controlled tipping involves the disposal of the waste in the prepared trenches or cells. It is a biological process in which number of microorganism generates different products. Vents are kept for the escape of gasses like Carbon Dioxide and Methane. An extensive investment is required for landfill gas collection system for possible generation of electricity. High investment, technical challenges and lack of capacity in the local market renders this option unfeasible at present. Alternative 4: Composting (Break down) of Organic Material It is most feasible process for the waste disposal as in this method organic matter is broken down through uncontrolled anaerobic processes, releasing all produced methane into the atmosphere. There are no technical and investment barriers to this option. It is a feasible option but with severe environmental consequences. Stated alternatives 2 and 3 are not acceptable owing to the technological and financial reasons.


Composting of Organic Content of Municipal Solid Waste in Lahore
The Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) of City District Government Lahore (CDGL) is the sole authority responsible for the management of Solid Waste generated in the city. The responsibility of the SWMD consists of the whole process of collection of waste to its satisfactory disposal. However, due to high population growth and the lack of resources, the waste management has become a challenge for CDGL. Accordingly, SWMD prioritized the need to address this issue including the possibility of private sector participation through which waste can be managed and used in an economically beneficial manner. This arrangement would address the need to dispose of solid waste in economically beneficial ways without putting extra burden on the Lahore SWMD.
Lahore Compost (Pvt) Limited (LCL)

LCL, a group company of Saif Group, is a private limited company under the laws of Pakistan especially set up to operate composting facilities in Pakistan. The company started developing the composting project back in 2001. The company has set up its first composting plant at Mahmood Booti under an agreement with the City District Government Lahore (CDGL). The project has been setup on Build-Operate-Transfer basis, whereby the project will be transferred to CDGL after a period of 25 years. This is the first public-private project in Pakistan on such a large scale in the area of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) recycling. SHL defines and reviews business and investment activities of the Saif Group and provides consultancy and other related services to associated companies in addition to provide local support and other representative services to leading transnational corporations. SHL is also the primary implementation authority of the Saif Group for programs in Human Resource Development and Administrative Support. SHL is tasked with:     Building networks with project partners and achieving shared objectives through the utilization of synergies. Managing network and alliance development Nurturing an enterprise culture throughout the organization Establishing the benchmark for recruitment and human resource development


MSW project allocation
Lahore Compost (Pvt) Limited (LCL) has received the concession from the City District Government, Lahore (CDGL) to process up to a 1,000 ton per day (TPD) of municipal solid waste (MSW). This will be achieved in incremental phases over time until 1,000 tons per day is achieved. Available statistics suggest that around 1,900 tons of solid waste per days is generated in Aziz Bhatti Town, Ravi Town and Shalimar Town every working day; out of which around 1,200 tones is collected and dumped at the Mahmood Booti Open Dumping Site. All of this solid waste is available for processing and composting. Various studies conducted in the past on the quality and composition of the solid waste suggests that the waste delivered to the project company includes over 55% organicmaterials. Composting, in scientifically designed plants, would improve the local environment by reducing health hazards created by the present practice of dumping of waste in open dump sites and also sequester the emission of methane generated in the process of anaerobic decomposition of biodegradable matter. The Project will also result in the production of compost, which will be used as a soil conditioner/ fertilizer for improving the quality of soil in and around Lahore. There are various forms of composting, e.g., aerobic windrow type, anaerobic trench type, in-vessel high rate composting, vermi-composting etc. LCL has been operating and plans to extend capacity of an aerobic windrow type composting technology. The capital investment in this composting plant is primarily for the   Civil structures and equipment for material handling Turning and screening the composting material at different stages

The composting technology is relatively simple but in absolute terms the capital investment is still high. Additionally, the operation and maintenance cost including the cost of debt servicing is fairly high compared to the low market price of compost. Therefore, additional support is necessary to make the urban waste based compost plant viable and sustainable. It also requires specific technical knowledge to manage the biological composting process, which was introduced for the first time in Pakistan as a result of this project. Due to a number of reasons, it is very difficult to make waste management projects commercially viable in Pakistan. As in many other countries, available resources from the Government of Pakistan and revenue accrual in terms of municipal taxation are not adequate. In Pakistan, there is little experience with the use of compost on a large scale and it is challenging to make commercially viable a composting project such as the likes of Lahore Compost. The concept of commercial soil conditioner is still not widely known amongst the farmers, the largest client/ user group. This coupled with the low levels of certain plant nutrients on a per tonnage basis in comparison to the chemical fertilizers leads

to a relatively low market price of compost. CDM revenues could make a very positive impact in making such projects sustainable and would also open up possibilities for private sector participation.
Benefits of Composting

The LCL project is first of its kind under Public Private Partnership and is contributing towards sustainable development of the municipality. The following are the environmental, economic and social benefits of implementing the project in the area: 1. Environmental Benefit The project would prevent uncontrolled GHG generation and emission from waste that would have been disposed off at the open dumping site. Additionally it would reduce the amount of waste going into the open dumping site thus increasing the lifespan of the waste dumping site. 2. Economical Benefits Production of soil improver (compost) to battle soil degradation, boost the farm crop production, thus promoting farmers’ income and contributing to economic sustainable development of the region. 3. Social Benefits This project will help to Creation of around 80 jobs for locals and staff training to improve skills of the local residents. The project would also promote sustainable development of Lahore Municipality by improving the environment quality and demonstrate the commercialized practice of composting that could assist Pakistan’s central and southern regions and other countries in meeting the objectives regarding re-use of waste.


Technical Description of the Project
Lahore compost Pvt limited is responsible for the overall implementation of the composting project in Lahore. The project will be implemented in incremental phases until 1,000 tons per day is achieved. Location Region City Mahmood Booti, Bund Road, Lahore Lahore city district, Punjab Lahore city

The composting plant is located within the boundaries of Lahore city. The site is adjacent to Mahmood Booti MSW dumping site. The latitudes and longitudes of the project site are Latitude: 31.610o N, Longitude: 74.382o E. The map below describes the exact location of the site:

Project Location


Technology to be employed

Aerobic windrow type composting is considered to be the most suitable technology. The project involves the production of compost from the organic solid waste using European Technology from Belgium. This is a sophisticated method of composting which complies with the EU regulations and is being introduced for the first time in Pakistan. In the aerobic windrow type composting, the incoming garbage is weighed, inspected and then subjected to preliminary sorting of large non-compostable items followed by crushing to harmonize the input for composting. Next is stacking in windrows (100-120 m long piles with a base width of about 4m and height of 2m). These windrows are turned mechanically at consistent intervals. At the end of about 6 weeks of windrowing, the material is fairly stabilized and is ready for screening through a train of rotary sieves having increasingly smaller openings. Additional equipment is also applied for removing small stone and grit. Smaller pieces of plastics, glass, rags etc. are removed during this process. At each stage, some rejects are screened out, which are either picked up by recyclers or more commonly, sent to an open dumping site. Compost is dark brown, free-flowing, rich in humus and has a faint musty odor. The humus content makes it a healthy soil conditioner. Additionally, compost contains a small percentage of plant nutrients – macro (nitrogen, phosphorus and potash) as well as micro. Finished compost is classified as a 100% organic fertilizer containing primary nutrients as well as trace minerals, humus and humic acids, in a slow release form. Process flow diagram below further clarifies the processes involved and technology employed.

Source- Lahore composting Pvt ltd, 2004

The Figure below shows the waste dumping site along with the existing composting facility and proposed expansion of windrow pad.

Estimation Reduction in CO2

Over the credit period of 7 years, this plant will help to reduce the carbon emission about 760,801 tons.

Source- clean development mechanism, 28 July 2006


Compliance with the applicable laws and regulations

The most relevant parts of the legal framework for disposal of waste in Pakistan include:      The Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance, 1983 National Conservation Strategy (NCS), 1992; National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), 1993; and Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (PEPA, 1997) Punjab Solid Waste Management Guidelines, 2007

The Ministry of Environment deals with environment and wildlife issues at the federal level. Two organizations, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC) and the Pak- EPA, are primarily responsible for administering the provisions of the PEPA 1997. The provincial environmental protection agencies (EPAs) are the provincial arms of the federal EPA, which is authorized to delegate powers to its provincial counterparts. There is no article enforcing landfill gas extraction, organic waste composting or what-soever in Environmental Protection Law of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. While the governing laws do not regulate waste disposal practices, there is no prohibition against composting either. The SOPs of LCL are in full compliance with the guidelines of Punjab Solid Waste Management Guidelines, 2007 and to the best international practices of composting across the board.

Costing of the Project
The total project cost has been deduced by surveying the market and by keeping in view the financial budget. The costing method which has been used in this project is top to down costing. Serial Number
1 2 3 4

Description Plant & machinery Civil work & land development Furniture & fittings Others Grand Total

Amount in US $ 2,791,000.590 2,481,000.228 64,000.956 186,000.501 5,522,002.275

Source- Briefing of Composting of Organic Content of Municipal Solid Waste in Lahore, Pakistan, July, 7th 2008

Approximately, it leads to the investment of US $5.52 which is one of the major investments in composting in Pakistan. The risk involvement in this project is also quite high but the Lahore composting Pvt limited has several alternatives plan in order to avoid the risk which can be caused by this project to safe group.


Estimating benefits of the Project
The estimating financial benefits which can be gained through the Lahore composting project are based on the figures provides by the safe group as well as from the feasibility study of World Bank. Activity Sale of Carbon Credits (@ US$ 11/tons of CO2) Sale of 5591 Metric tons Compost /Year (@ Rs.250 per 50 kg bag) Total Estimating annual Revenue Revenue US $million 0.858 0.940 1.798

Source- Briefing of Composting of Organic Content of Municipal Solid Waste in Lahore, Pakistan, July, 7th 2008

Beside these financial benefits, there are several other benefits which surely contribute much in overall development of the country as well as the concerned stakeholders. Few of them are  The project Produces cheap organic fertilizer which improves per hectare yield. Thus promoting farmers’ income and contributing to economic sustainable development of the region.  The Project will help in transfer of modern technology (state of art Minaret technology) and increases skilled labor opportunities and created about 80 full-time jobs at the project plant.  The project would also promote sustainable development of Lahore Municipality by improving the environment quality and demonstrate the commercialized practice of composting that could assist Pakistan’s central and southern regions and other countries in meeting the objectives regarding re-use of waste.   The project has created new economic activities for everyone involved in the value chain. The project activity helps in reducing GHG (methane) emission levels in the environment. Additionally it would reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill thus increasing the lifespan of the waste landfill.  The organic fertilizer of Lahore Compost is a substitute of expensive chemical fertilizer. While reducing the expenditure incurred on chemical fertilizer, it affords small farm owners same level of crop yield.  The compost produced by Lahore Compost is far less expensive than locally manufactured as well as imported fertilizer (urea, DAP, etc) and compost. It complements as well as substitutes chemical fertilizer.



[1]. Syeda Adila Batool and Muhammad Nawaz Ch, Municipal solid waste management in Lahore City District, Pakistan , Science Direct Journal, 20 January, 2009 [2]. Composting of organic content of solid municipal waste in Lahore, June 12, 2009, Clean Development Mechanism Authority, Pakistan [3]. Municipal solid waste management program, united nation environment program, division of technology, industry and economics, 2009 [4]. Pakistan Country Paper, SACOSAN III, November, 14 2008, Ministry of Environment-Government of Pakistan [5]. Lahore Composting, June 3, 2008, Project Information Document- World Bank [6]. Ata Ul Haq, Disposal of Municipal Solid Waste through Composting, October 29, 2007, Lahore Compost Private Limited [7]. Briefing of Composting of Organic Content of Municipal Solid Waste in Lahore, Pakistan, July, 7th 2008 [8]. Clean development mechanism, Estimation of the carbon reduction, 28 July 2006 [9]. LUDP / Solid Waste Disposal Plan 1991and Environment Impact Assessment of Mahmood Booti Municipal Solid Waste Dumping Site, Lahore by NESPAK in March 2004 [10]. Solid waste generation in Pakistan, Ministry of Environment Pakistan, 2004


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