The oldest and Lahore’s only official dump site, Mehmood Booti has reached its capacity of 2,500,000 tonnes of garbage and is now being shut off from any further dumping. But the Parks and Horticulture Authority Lahore and Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) have something else in mind.
The two organizations are trying to convert the dumping site into a public park. Work to achieve this first of its kind project in Pakistan has already begun.
The first step in the conversion has already begun. The authorities are terracing, leveling and cutting down the garbage heap so that it does not collapse. To achieve this, over four feet of soil has been layered on top of the heap. Now water is being used so that the conditions become favorable for plantation.
PHA and LWMC tried planting three forms of trees including the Conocarpus erectus, sunflower and table palm. The Table palm and sunflower trees did not survive but the Conocarpus erectus trees showed satisfactory results and started growing. About three hundred trees have already been planted with an aim to plant 10,000 trees in total on the site.
The Mehmood Booti dumping site stretches over 320 kanals of land and was set up in 1997. It is now being replaced by another site at Lakhodair which is about two kilometers away from there.
Converting garbage sites into parks may be a new idea in Pakistan, but around the world it is common. Converting such sites to parks significantly helps the environment.
Once completed, Mehmood Booti will become a public park in an area where there has been no recreational park for as long as Lahore has been around.