Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Waste Management
Last published date: 2022-11-10


There are untapped potential opportunities for U.S. companies, products, modern technology, and equipment to explore this industry. Pakistan generates approximately 49.6 million tons of solid waste a year, increasing more than 2.4 percent annually. Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure like other developing countries, creating serious environmental problems. Most municipal waste is either burned, dumped, or buried on vacant lots, threatening the health and welfare of the general population. The Government of Pakistan (GOP) estimates that 87,000 tons of solid waste is generated per week, mostly from major metropolitan areas. Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, generates more than 16,500 tons of municipal waste daily. All major cities face enormous challenges on how to manage urban waste. Bureaucratic hurdles, lack of urban planning, inadequate waste management equipment, and low public awareness contribute to the problem.

Existing Solid Waste Management System in Pakistan

Local and municipal governments are responsible for collecting waste throughout most of Pakistan’s major cities. About 60-70 percent of solid waste in the cities is collected. The waste collection fleet typically consists of handcarts and donkey pull-carts for primary collection, then open trucks, tractor/trolley systems, and arm roll containers/trucks for secondary collection and transport. Some municipalities hire street sweepers and sanitary workers to augment other collection methods. They use wheelbarrows and brooms to collect solid waste from small heaps and dustbins, then store it in formal and informal depots.

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, utilizes three sanitary landfill sites, while Lahore, the country’s second-largest city, has two. Other major cities plan to build proper landfill sites. In many areas, solid waste is simply dumped outside the city limits. Solid waste management capabilities and systems vary by province. In Punjab, Lahore is the only city with a proper solid waste management, treatment, and disposal system, which was outsourced to Turkish companies Albayrak and OzPak. Similar systems are planned for secondary cities in Punjab province. In Sindh, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) aims to improve solid waste management services in 20 cities, and regularly announces tenders for a wide range of waste management projects in the province. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) is planning to build a sanitary landfill. Balochistan, with a population of 6.9 million, has no significant infrastructure for waste management system.

Much of Pakistan’s solid waste does not reach final disposal sites and most of the waste generated is recovered for recycling, mostly by scavengers, before it ever

Table: Solid Waste Generation in Major Cities


Population in millions

Solid waste generation/day

in tons
































Source: Mr. Saadat Ali, USCS Pakistan contact from Project Procurement International, Pakistan

Composition of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in Pakistan

Pakistan: Physical Composition of MSW by Percent
Pakistan: Physical Composition of MSW by Percent

Source: United Nations Environment Programme, report on waste management in Pakistan

Ash, bricks, and dirt – 18%, Glass – 6%, Textile - 2%, Cardboard - 7%, Food wastes - 30%, Leather - 1%, Paper - 6%, Plastic - 9%, Rubber - 1%, Metal - 4%, Wood - 2%, Yard wastes - 14%.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Equipment: Waste collection and transportation
  • Waste to energy plants and equipment
  • Chemicals: To remove waste odor for open landfill sites all-over the country
  • Instrumentation
  • Waste recycling plants
  • Biohazard waste equipment
  • Industrial and municipal wastewater treatment machineries.


The local market has shown moderate growth in terms of its volume and FDI contribution over the past few years. Both the public and private sectors have or will initiate small- to large-scale projects, small- to-large scale waste collection, and waste treatment projects. According to industry experts, the local market will continue to offer sizeable business opportunities to local and foreign companies for the foreseeable future.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has announced a Competitive Upfront Tariff of U.S. $.10007/kWh for waste-to-energy projects based on a 25-year operational period.

For Potential tender opportunities, please check following websites:


Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak- EPA)   

NEPRA | Home 

Pakistan Alternate Energy Development Board

Punjab Environment Protection Department

Federal Bureau of Statistics

Local industry contacts

Solid Waste Management Board