Assessment of Solid Waste Management and Sustainability Practices in District Swat, Pakistan

Author's: Ziaur Rahman1, Ghazal Ishtiaq2*, Aamir Amanat1
Authors' Affiliations
1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan.2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan.
Article Type: Research Article     Published: Sep. 30, 2021 Pages: 66-80
DOI:        Views 561       Downloads 0


Humans use earth resources for their benefit and later dump the waste into the earth as solid waste, wastewater, and air emissions. Without an effective management program, these wastes can have detrimental impacts on the environment. This paper aims to assess the solid waste management and sustainability practices followed at the Mingora city and Tehsil Kabal in district Swat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan. District Swat is dominated by narrow valleys and mountainous terrain, which is a part of the Himalayan Mountains. The research involved the collection of background information through various journals, books, and newspapers, followed by interviews with residents of the city using a questionnaire survey for data collection. Field studies were conducted with a sample size of 90 from households and 60 samples from Kabare shops to derive information on various SWM-related problems and prospects for improvising the system. During the process of questionnaire development information was collected about the number of residents, businesses, waste collection areas, disposal site, and TMA responsible areas. It was observed that wastes from different sources have influenced the whole of the study area through accommodation developments, solid waste dumping including plastic and sewerage. Residents and especially riverside businesses of Mingora and Tehsil Kabal disseminate solid waste along the river. Results showed that 55% of the respondents strongly agree about the environmental impacts of solid waste. The majority of people (79%) wanted to recycle resources for environmental benefits. The existing solid waste management system in the city appears to be highly inefficient as the local public was not satisfied by government departments for SWM. The proper management of wastes is essential for building sustainable and liveable cities.


Solid Waste Management,

Sustainability Practices,

Field Studies,

Kabare Shops,

Mingora City,  

Tehsil Kabal, Swat.

Authors’ Contribution

AA designed; ZR performed experiments. ZR wrote and GI wrote and revised the paper.

How to cite

Rahman, Z., Ishtiaq, G., Amanat, A., 2021. Assessment of Solid Waste Management and Sustainability Practices in District Swat, Pakistan. PSM Microbiol., 6(3): 66-80.


Increased population and frenzy of human society for modernization and industrialization resulted in an exponential increase in waste generation. Lack of awareness regarding waste disposal and management in urban areas leads to open burning of waste or improper disposal in environmentally sensitive areas. Excessive waste dumping/ burning leads to environmental imbalance, which affects everyday life in the area causing environmental pollution (M Safar et al., 2014). More than 4 billion masses live in cities around the globe, which accumulates to more than half of the world’s total population of 7.4 billion. People moving from rural areas to cities would be expected to continue at the current rate. Urban areas population is expected to double its current size nearly 70% of the world population would live in cities (bank, 2019).

Improper solid waste management is an important reason for environmental degradation that produces hazards for individuals and the environment. Waste reduction or elimination strategies for waste could produce paybacks for the environment and human health as well as economic gains, which in turn could enhance the living standard. Solid waste management (SWM) problems in developing countries could be attributed to unchecked population growth (Biswas et al., 2020; Ejaz and Janjua, 2012; Kumar et al., 2017). In developing countries, collection, transportation, and waste dumping activities have limited concern for the environment in SWM strategies development. Therefore, irregular dumping of household waste produced health hazards and environmental disturbances, which developed widespread problems among the general public i.e. health issues and environmental degradation. Significant problems caused by these activities need reduction and sustainable attention to reduce waste and its environmental damage control (Yuan and Yabe, 2014).

Overall, there is a requirement for the improvement of sustainable and environment-friendly waste management systems including at source waste reduction solutions along with transfer to landfills, which in turn will help in decreasing the worldwide waste-related issues. Various types of green and secure waste management and contributions might be included concerning sustainable waste management (Tadesse et al., 2007; Tulebayeva et al., 2020).

Waste management in Pakistan generally lacks a developed structure and faced challenges like lack of financial resources, collection and transport facilities as well as earmarked disposal sites. For best solid waste management practice, both local agencies and the public must contribute towards public awareness and decision-making. Socio-cultural aspects important for devising solutions for increasing waste-related issues include the role of public in decision making, social awareness about waste problems, and environmental issues (Abdel-Shafy and Mansour, 2018; Musu-Gillette et al., 2018).

A comprehensive plan for recycling on national scale or even in major cities of Pakistan does not exist. There is limited information on the activities of scavengers. No comprehensive, cost analysis exists to the recycling problem in Pakistan. Such information is vital for efficient recycling programs, not only in Swat but also for other cities in Pakistan and other developing countries. In England, household reusing reduces/reuse 16% of household waste (Onemli and Woodard, 2004).

Pakistan due to its rapid population growth, urbanization, lack of education, and financial resources has exacerbated the waste problem, which adds incredibly to the degree of waste being produced and lack of interest for waste minimization in the waste generation population. Moreover, lack of government and public concern have resulted in vague strategies for waste management and promoted financial losses as well as environmental degradation (Wang and Nie, 2001). Like many developing countries around the world, Pakistan has various limitations like rapid development, urbanization, lack of administration, lack of funds, and absence of required skill level among municipal workers. Therefore, waste management in Pakistan is deficient due to lack of awareness, public interest, and ignorance as well as low general interest among government and individuals for environmental problems (Ferronato and Torretta, 2019). Sustainable solid waste management (SSWM) could promote human wellness, economic benefits, and environmental conservation. The current study was conducted to assess the solid waste management and sustainability practices followed at the Mingora city and Tehsil Kabal in district Swat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan.


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