Asif Farooqui is making millions of dollars by turning thousands of tons of waste in Lahore into liquefied petroleum products and fertilizer for farmlands.
Words like "clean" and "green" are not usually associated with the streets of major South Asian cities, but Farooqui's Waste Busters, a successful waste management business, is slowly changing the image of the Pakistani city of Lahore, according to an Aljazeera report.
The business started modestly a few years ago with just six donkey carts and a few workers to collect the trash and manually process it. Today, it has 200 garbage collection vehicles, several waste management plants and employs over 3000 people. Its plants separate garbage in to organics, plastics and metals to produce LPG products, fertilizer, and recyclables for reprocessing and reuse. And it is being done profitably.
An example of reprocessing and reuse is a Lahore-based company called Green Earth Recycling which turns shopping bags and other plastic scrap into beautiful green "plastic wood" furniture.
Other cities and communities in Pakistan are looking at the Lahore example and working on duplicating it. Waste Buster has already won contracts in communities in Karachi, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other cities.
Like it not, western style consumption patterns are happening in Pakistan, and these require western style professional management of the environment. With the rapid growth of urban middle class and its rising consumption of packaged products bringing fast proliferation of FMCG brands and big box retailers in Pakistan, it is becoming absolutely essential to deal effectively with the increasing amounts of trash being produced in big cities. Waste Busters sets a good example of what needs to be done on a much bigger scale to keep Pakistan's cities clean, environmentally safe and livable.