Municipal solid waste dumping and its impact on soil quality in Karachi

Seema Jilani, Rubab Rashid


In this study, the surface soil samples (n=12) were randomly collected from both the waste dump and the non dumpsites (control). The characterization of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) at dumpsites indicated a significant higher proportion of biodegradable waste (71%). Hence, the analysis of soil samples showed a high pH, TDS, EC, volatile solids and organic carbon in comparison to control sites. Similarly, the increased concentration of heavy metals was observed. Overall, the mean metal concentrations at dumpsites soil were in the following descending order: Zn>Cr>Pb>Cu>Ni>Cd. Except for lead, the analyzed metals concentration was found below the permissible limits. However, on comparison with control sites, the trend indicated the likely increase in pollutant concentration. The study therefore concluded that MSW dumping has not only altered the soil color and texture, but also has changed the physico-chemical constituents. These findings might help in proper management of municipal solid waste in Karachi.


Municipal Solid Waste; Biodegradable Waste; Dumpsites; Soil; Heavy Metals

Full Text:

PDF (English)


Alissa E. M., Ferns G. A. (2011) Heavy metal poisoning and cardiovascular disease. Journal of Toxicology, 1–21. doi:10.1155/2011/870125.

Amusan C. K., Ojo S. J. (2005) Determination of heavy metals in soil in the vicinity of a dumpsite in Ketaren Gwari Minna. International Journal of Science and Nature. @ 2004 – 2011 Society for Science and Nature (SFSN).

Ande O. T., Onajobi J. (2009) Assessment of effects of controlled land use types on soil quality using inferential method. African Journal of Biotechnology. 8 (22):6267 – 6271.

ASTM D5231 – 92 (2003) Standard test method for determination of the composition of unprocessed municipal solid waste. ASTM International,West Conshohocken, PA. p.6.

Burnley S. J (2007) A review of municipal solid waste composition in the United Kingdom. Waste Management, 27: 1274–1285.

doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2006.06.018

Chandrappa R., Das D. B. (2012) Waste quantities and characteristics. In Solid Waste Management. Environmental Science and Engineering. Springer Berlin Heidelberg: pp.47-63.

Chimuka L., Mugwedi R., Moboladisoro B. H., Odiyo O. J. (2005) Metals in environmental media: A study of trace and plantinum group metals in Thohoyandou, South Africa. Water SA, 31(4): 581-588.

Chukwudi N., Henry D. O., Selegha A., Modupeola A. O., Vilém P. (2017) Assessment of the impacts of municipal solid waste dumps on soils and plants, Chemistry and Ecology, 33 (7):589-606.

EI-Fadel M., Findikakis A. N., Leckie J. O. (1997) Environmental impact of solid waste landfill. Journal of Environmental Management, 50:1-25.

Fagbote E. O., Olanipekun E. O. (2010) Evaluation of the status of heavy metal pollution of soil and plant (Chromolaena odorata) of Agbabu bitumen deposit area, Nigeria. American-Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research, 5(4):241–248.

FAO/WHO, Codex Alimentarius Commission. Food Additives and Contaminants (2001) Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards programme, ALINORM 01/12 A, 1–289.

Hughes W. W. (1996) Essentials of environmental toxicology. The effects of environmental hazardous substances on human health. Loma, Lind Califonia. Tay and Francais Publishers, 3:87-95.

Isidori M., Lavorgna M., Nardelli A., Parella A. (2003) Toxicity identification evaluation of leachates from municipal solid waste landfills, a multispecies approach. Chemosphere, 52(1): 85-94. doi: 10.1016/S0045-6535(03)00298-4

Jilani S. (2007) Municipal solid waste composting and its assessment for reuse in plant production. Pak.J. Bot., 39(1):271-277.

Nartey V. K., Haizel M., Doamekpor L. K., Dankyi E. (2012) Studies on the contribution of fertilizers to heavy metal levels in soils and cocoa from some cocoa farms in the western region of Ghana. Journal of Natural Sciences Research, 2(8):111–120.

NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Services) (2004) Waste: Landfill. Available at: http://www.niehs.nih. gov/external/Fag/landfill.htm

Nyamangara J., Mzezewa J. (1999) The effects of long-term sewage sludge application on Zn, Cu, Ni and Pb levels in clay loam soil under pasture grass in Zimbabwe. Journal of Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 73:199-204.

Okoronkwo N. E., Odemelam S. A., Ano O. A. (2006) Levels of toxic elements in soils of abandoned waste dumpsite. African Journal of Biotechnology, 5(13):1241-1244.

Pak-EPA (2005) Guidelines for Solid Waste Management, Pak-EPA in collaboration with JICA, Ministry of Environment. Pakistan.

Pelegrini N. N. B. P., Pelegrini R. T., Paterniani J. E. S. (2007) Ecotoxicological evaluation of leachate from the Limeira sanitary landfill with a view to identifying acute toxicity. Ambi-Agua, Taubaté, 2 (3):34-43. (doi:10.4136/ambi-agua.31)

Pluhowski E. J., Spinello A. G. (1978) Impact of sewerage systems on stream base flow and ground-water recharge on Long Island, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Journal of Research, 6(2):263-271.

Rayment G. E., Higginson F. R. (1992) Australian laboratory handbook of soil and water chemical methods. Inkata press, Melbourne. (Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbooks, vol 3).

Rehan A., Shahana K., Roland S. (1998) Domestic refusal collection in low income urban areas in Pakistan, 24th WEDC Conference on Sanitation and Water for all. Islamabad, Pakistan.

Smith C. J., Hopmans, P., Cook, F. J. (1996) Accumulation of Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn and Cd in soil following irrigation with untreated urban effluents in Australia. Environmental Pollution, 94(3):317-323.

Syeda M. A, Aroma P., Beenish A., Naima H., Azra Y. (2014) Open dumping of municipal solid waste and its hazardous impacts on soil and vegetation diversity at waste dumping sites of Islamabad city. Journal of King Saud University, Science, 26:59–65.

Tatsi A. A., Zouboulis A. I. (2002) A field investigation of the quantity and quality of leachate from a municipal solid waste landfill in a Mediterranean climate, Thessaloniki, Greece, Advances in Environmental Research, 6(3):207–219.

USEPA (1996) SW-846: Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Wastes, 3rd Ed., U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, D.C.

Vesilind P. A., Worrell W. A., Reinhart D. R. (2003) Solid waste engineering. Singapore: Thomson Asia Pvt. Ltd.

Zainol N. A., Hamidi A. A., Mohammad S. Y. (2012) Characterization of leachate from Kuala Sepetang and Kulim Landfills: A comparative study, School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Energy and Environment Research, 2(2):45-52.

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2281-4485/9342


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Seema Jilani, Rubab Rashid

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.