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Karachi residents want the government to take urgent measures to improve the quality of life in the city which was named earlier this year as one of the least livable around the world.
In the latest Global Liveability study, Pakistan’s largest city and financial capital was ranked 169th out of 173 cities chosen from around the world. Heaps of garbage are dumped on the side of roads in Karachi every day, serving as a breeding ground for germs.
“The garbage that is collected is basically disposed of at a very basic dumping site instead of a sanitary landfill,” said Noman Ahmed, the dean of architecture and planning at NED University. The trash piles often get mixed with sewage that can overflow into the streets, and the city’s air is filled with car exhaust fumes. When the sewage flows out into the streets, it damages the roads, which become even more dilapidated when it rains.
“Living in this city has become very tough,” said Rabia Bibi, a Karachi resident who complained about the unavailability of potable water. Ahmed says the city needs 1.1 billion gallons of water a day, but less than half of that volume flows through the pipelines. That forces half of the population to either buy water at exorbitant prices or use untreated water, which is not safe to drink.
Another challenge for Karachi residents is commuting through the city whose roads are often encumbered with shopkeepers’ stalls and other obstacles that reduce the space for vehicles, increasing traffic jams. “We also need to possibly improve the utilization of public transport. We see that there is an enormous rise in the number of motorcycles and motor cars,” Ahmed said.
Karachi dwellers blame civic agencies for the city’s problems, while researchers say measures have to be taken to improve the infrastructure and the management of the city’s resources. But Amber Alibhai, the general secretary of Shehri NGO that focuses on civic problems, says the people need to take action to help their city. “I think the citizens need to take cognizance and need to take charge of the destiny of Karachi themselves. Otherwise, it’s a lost place,” she said.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.