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Pakistan, Islamic Republic of: Lahore Composting
(Danish Carbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 2778

Project Photo 1
The Danish Carbon Fund (DCF) Lahore Compost project is a first of its kind project in Pakistan by bringing composting technology to a country where common practice is open dumping of waste and there are no landfills. This project is also the first public-private partnership project in Pakistan on such a large scale in the area of Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSW) and will contribute towards sustainable development of the municipality of Lahore, as well as significantly reducing health hazards for local communities. Lahore Compost Limited (LCL) is a joint venture between Saif Holdings Limited (SHL), one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the country, and the City District Government of Lahore (CDGL). The project is expected to generate over 310,000 tons CO2e by 2018.

Rapid increase in population, high rate of migration to cities and introduction of disposable items, such as plastic bags, bottles etc. have created serious environmental problems including inadequate solid and liquid waste management, lack of safe water, and minimal pollution control. Similar to other big cities of Pakistan, Lahore is witnessing a rapid growth in its population due to rural urban migration from surrounding areas and other parts of the country. Lahore has a population of around 10 million and is considered to be one of the 30 largest cities in the world. The increase in population has exerted immense pressure on the social and physical infrastructure of the city, leading to various socio-economic and environmental problems. Inadequate solid waste management is one of the most visible and pressing problems in the city, contributing to an unattractive environment, poor sanitation conditions, disease, pollution of water bodies, and general environmental degradation. Due to high population growth and the lack of resources, waste management has become a challenge for the city. This project addresses the need to dispose of solid waste in economically beneficial ways without putting an extra burden on the Lahore city infrastructure.

The country has no scientifically designed landfill and common practice consists of open dumping of waste. LCL has leased the Mehmood Booti dumping site from CDGL as well as receiving a concession from it to process 1,000 tons per day (tpd) of MSW that is collected from residential areas as well as fruit and vegetable markets. LCL has imported Belgian machinery and composting technology. LCL has created local compost management know-how through learning by doing, which did not exist previously. Composting in a scientifically designed plant will improve the local environment by reducing health hazards created by the present practice of dumping of waste in open dump sites and will also sequester the emission of methane generated in the process of anaerobic decomposition of bio-degradable matter. It will also lengthen the usable life of the dumping site in a city where land is running out and at a premium. The compost that is produced will be used as a soil conditioner/ fertilizer for improving the quality of soil in and around Lahore.

Declining land yields and soil erosion are a large problem in Pakistan, especially for an agriculturally based country. This is exacerbated by the fact that Pakistan has been estimated by the Bank region to be one of the 12 hardest hit countries by climate change, the highest impact being agriculture and floods. The Lahore Compost project is not only a pilot for better MSW in the country, but also represents a potential solution for badly degraded agricultural lands. Compost application pilots are already showing positive effects in reducing land salinity, which is a big problem in Pakistan. In addition, land yields and size of agricultural produce have been shown to increase dramatically with the first application of compost to degraded soils. In addition to selling CERs, the project must also create a market for compost in the country.

In addition to mitigating climate change, LCL has created jobs through this project. It has implemented free vaccinations for the workers, showers where they can get clean after work, introduced safety measures like mandating use of boots and gloves, etc and is working creating an education program through the project. Expected CDM revenues are expected to encourage the development of a market for compost in Pakistan, where it has not yet been operating on a larger scale. Lahore Compost will demonstrate the viability of the initiative and encourage private sector participation in similar MSW projects contributing towards sustainable development of other municipalities in Pakistan.

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