Lessons from Karachi: The role of Demonstration, Documentation, Mapping and Relationship Building in Advocacy for Improved Urban Municipal Services
Karachi is Pakistan’s only port city. It contains 10 per cent of the total population of Pakistan and 25 per cent of its urban population. Nearly 20 percent of the country’s GDP, 45 percent of value added, 40 per cent of employment in large scale manufacturing, 50 per cent bank deposits, 20 per cent of federal and 40 per cent of provincial revenues and 62 per cent of income tax is contributed by Karachi.
Sewerage and Sanitation
While underground sewage systems exist, their maintenance and expansion have not kept pace with the urban physical and population increase since the 1970s. As the old systems began to collapse, ad-hoc arrangements were made to connect them to the nearest natural drains or water bodies. New urban settlements, housing colonies and katchi abadis also developed their underground sewers or open drains and in the absence of a planned disposal, disposed them into the natural drainage system. As a result, in almost all cases sewage disposes into the natural drainage system and water bodies or in depressions. According to official estimates, the sewage system serves only 40 per cent of the city’s population. Only 20 to 40 MGD (i.e., less than 15 percent) of the 295 to 350 MGD of waste water and sewage produced by the city is treated. The rest goes directly into the sea. As a result of untreated sewage reaching the sea and because of an absence of separation between industrial and domestic sewage, sea life has been polluted near the Karachi shore line with toxic metals and is becoming increasingly dangerous to consume.