arachi is the 5th most unlivable city in the world. Unbelievable! The city that used to be a tourist attraction, and hub of cultural diversification has become the least recommended city in the world.
The problems are many starting from the water crisis to the trembling roads and the poor infrastructure of buildings, the city is gradually dying. And the irony is that no one cares about it.
Karachi is one of the largest cities in the world and was considered to be the home of immigrants but now you would see people running out of this city because of the future it’s creating.
This megacity is the largest contributor to tax collection and because of it, Pakistan stands on its feet. But unfortunately, the city is only a source to generate revenue and the state doesn’t care about its problems.
Here I will highlight the major problems in Karachi that require immediate attention. If we ignore these problems more we won’t have Karachi in the near future.
If you want to know, how Karachi used to be in the initial years, please read the book “Instant City” and you’ll know how gorgeous this city was.
Major Problems in Karachi
No Planning for the Monsoon Season
Every year the Met department predicts the rain alerts in Karachi and every year it goes in vain. Whenever it rains in Karachi, people die of electrocution, slipping in the overflowing drains on the road, the outburst of water in the homes, hunger, and starvation. The city becomes havoc and the routine life gets disturbed during the monsoon season. The garbage flows on the street. People living in the slum areas have to leave their homes to save their lives. There’s no proper drainage system and during rain, the condition gets worse. Every year the monsoon claims 10-20 lives in Karachi and these death ratios go unnoticed and unattended. The authorities didn’t pay heed and instead made funny claims. DHA which is an elite area of Karachi also flows under the water. Despite paying huge taxes, neither the rich nor the middle-class communities are saved from the rain havoc in Karachi.
[Read: Karachi Urban Flooding 2020]
2. Tanker Mafia – Water Crisis
There’s a separate lobby in Karachi that works to steal the city’s water and sell it at high rates. People living in “katchi abadis” have to run the errands in 2-3 buckets only in which they have to bring water from far and wide areas. They can’t afford to call a water tanker as it will cost them their monthly salaries. So, all they can do is drink less or consume polluted water so they can save their money for other important household expenses. If you want to see the corruption of the tanker mafia in Karachi, I would recommend you to watch this documentary by DW Urdu. It shows how we are slowly running out of water and how Karachi is dying with time. The concerns again go to the Sindh government for making the conditions awful in the city of lights.
3. Street Beggars
Stop at any signal in Karachi and you would see a number of beggars against your window forcing you to give money as it’s their right to ask. One of them will come sweeping the front mirror to take money for the unasked labour. Others will come with the caged birds asking you to free them for a small amount of money. All these beggars make you feel guilty about being in a car as you have done something wrong for them. And the uncanny is that they won’t leave until you give them some money no matter if it’s a coin or a rupee note. You will see children of all ages, women carrying infants and even old people begging for money. According to MM News, there are above 1,50,000 beggars in Karachi. These beggars come from Sindh and Punjab and create hurdles for the daily commuters. They are set up in teams of 12-14 and get dispersed all over the city to earn their daily wages. No one takes effective actions against their illegal acts and the number is increasing with time.
4. No Proper Waste Mismanagement System
You might be surprised to know but there is politics involved even in the garbage too. Karachi produced 16,000 tons daily of waste of which 60 percent reaches the dump storage points while only 40 percent is disposed of properly. Garbage pickers who collect waste from houses already take the valuable items from the trash and then leave the rest in nearby garbage dumps. In other countries, the waste is recycled in different ways but in Karachi, the garbage mafia made the most from it and left the city in trouble. People in slum areas live over and near the garbage and show alarming health conditions. But unfortunately, due to the lack of waste management, the garbage is left to put people in trouble only. On beaches, roadsides, streets and any free zone, you can find heaps of garbage anywhere in Karachi. Poor Karachi and its Garbage!
5. Traffic Problems
So what are traffic rules in Karachi? Nobody knows it. All they know is Red light, Yellow Light, and Green Light and they hardly follow them. It’s so easy to bribe a police officer in the city. No bike lanes, no car lanes, no proper timings for heavy containers and tractors and no rules and regulations. Who suffers the most? The common people. For politicians, the road can become clear even if it’s midnight but the ordinary man has to digest the traffic daily. Be it in Saddar, Tariq Road, Sahara-e-Faisal, Korangi, or Nazimabad, it’s not easy to reach your destination without skipping the traffic. The journey of a few minutes can easily stretch to hours adding misery to people’s lives. The poor roads are another big problem for Karachiites. During the monsoon season, the pain doubles and people stand with their vehicles for 8-10 hours on the road. The traffic and the city’s infrastructure are now taking a toll on people’s health and need to be addressed immediately.
6. Street Crimes
It’s not safe to leave your valuables in vehicles. The muggers are always roaming on the roads and can snatch it away from you. It’s not even safe to take your valuables along on public transport. You never know who can cut your pockets without letting you feel anything. The risk is that street crimes can take your lives too. Due to the lawlessness in Karachi, it’s no big game for robbers to shoot the innocent for some money or valuables. It’s easy for them to run away while leaving the other person on the road; dead or alive. For women, the situation is more troublesome. They don’t feel safe travelling alone. People are afraid to simply walk on roads and have left wearing gadgets and gold for the fear of being robbed on the streets anytime.
7. Lack of Amusement Parks
Amusement parks are a source of nourishment for women, children, and adults. It’s the parks where people make connections, relieve their stress and rejuvenate. But how many amusement parks do we have in Karachi? You must be naming a few but do they exist in your nearby vicinity? No! So where will people go to hangout or take a breath of fresh air? Even the few parks that exist aren’t clean or well-maintained. Apart from the parks, there are only a few places where people can hang out with family and friends. However, you will find restaurants and food streets everywhere but everyone can’t afford to eat outside. That’s why they look for budget-friendly places to travel and unfortunately, we don’t have any.
8. Divided Education System
You may call it a progressive city in Pakistan but education here is still chaotic. It’s divided into two systems; Matric and Cambridge. In the Matric system, our education system produces rote learners while Cambridge schooling is expensive. There’s no focus on Science, Sports and Mathematics. Students are learning what we were taught 20 years ago. Old history and geography which have no practical applications today are still part of our syllabus. This results in producing people who are limited to a 9-5 job mindset and have no plans to expand their skill sets. To add more to it, a good number of students don’t even have the opportunity to join schools and remain uneducated throughout their lifetime. The divided education system has created a gap between the rich, middle-class and the poor. It’s high time to have one education system for all.
For all of the above problems, the reason is obvious i.e. the Sindh government. For the past 40 years, they have not taken an iota of interest in city planning. There’s no action plan even to deal with floods and emergencies. God forbid, if a natural disaster happens in Karachi, then people will pay the cost. First, it was MQM and now it’s PPP. These political parties can have all luxuries while people pay for them. So much injustice has been done to this city and if it remains like it, you can imagine the future.
Considering this, I can’t think of any solution as all these problems aren’t in the hands of citizens. But seeing the potential of Karachi, we shouldn’t give up on this city soon. The hope is still there.
I prefer books and diaries more than phones and Facebook. Soulfully connected to Pakistan. And I passionately believe that I can change the world through blogging.