Household Solid Waste Generation in Urban Pakistan: A Case Study of Rawalpindi

28 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013

See all articles by Irteza Haider

Irteza Haider

National Rural Support Program (NRSP)

Murtaza Haider

Ryerson University

Madhav Badami

McGill University

Date Written: April 30, 2013


Nowhere else in Pakistan is the urban rot more pronounced than in the waste-littered streets. Apart from being an eyesore, ill-managed solid waste in Pakistan is one of the primary causes of health and environmental problems, which costs the state and individual households hundreds of millions of rupees in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

This paper focuses on the determinants of household solid waste generation in Rawalpindi Cantonment. Relying on a survey of economically-differentiated 118 households in six urban neighbourhoods, this paper has found substantial differences in household waste generation rates across various income groups. As expected, high-income neighbourhood residents generated more waste than their mid- and low-income counterparts. The total waste generated by household increased with household size. However, the waste per capita declined with the increase in the household size.

The state of solid waste collection was found to be poor across all income strata. The two low-income and one mid-income neighbourhood did not have any municipal waste collection service. Fewer than 50% of the households in the high-income neighbourhood reported access to municipal solid waste collection service. The rest self-disposed household solid waste mostly in empty lots in the neighbourhood. More than 65% of the households sold recyclables to waste collecting street hawkers, while another 25% handed recyclables to domestic workers, who in turn sold recyclables in the market.

Keywords: Solid Waste Management, Household Waste Generation, Urbanization, Pakistan

JEL Classification: O18, O21, R20, R53

Suggested Citation

Haider, Irteza and Haider, Murtaza and Badami, Madhav, Household Solid Waste Generation in Urban Pakistan: A Case Study of Rawalpindi (April 30, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Irteza Haider (Contact Author)

National Rural Support Program (NRSP) ( email )

46, The Aga Khan Road, F-6/4

Murtaza Haider

Ryerson University ( email )

Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3
416-979-5000, x2480 (Phone)

Madhav Badami

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5

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