We will deliver a triple win for people living in poverty: Improved health, improved environment and increase in employment opportunities.

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A social enterprise project to improve people’s health and the living environment in city slums in Northern Pakistan, by collecting and recycling rubbish


The project will aim to improve living conditions and reduce waste-related diseases in three slums across Northern Pakistan that don’t currently have rubbish collection services.


In the large cities on the Indus River Delta – the second most plastic-polluted river in the world – inhabitants are dumping thousands of tonnes of waste in or near ocean-bound waterways.

Chronically inadequate systems for collecting and disposing of rubbish such as plastic, food waste, paper and metal, include expensive landfill and incineration sites that have not kept up with demand.

Many slums are on floodplains or the edge of rivers, and the residents are literally surrounded by rubbish. Waste either gets dumped into the ocean-headed waterways, or it is burnt, creating toxic fumes that are breathed in by local residents. Dumping and burning leads to diarrhoea, infectious diseases, premature deaths from air pollution, environmental damage and flooding.

No one has ever attempted to deliver similar projects of this scale in Northern Pakistan, and such projects are rare globally.


The Pakistan project aims to create three community-based rubbish and recycling social enterprises called Haryali Hubs (‘haryali’ means green in Urdu). Together, these hubs will:

  • reduce waste by 216 tonnes per year, which includes ocean plastics and open burning of waste being cut by 13 tonnes per year.
  • create livelihoods for marginalised individuals.
  • advocate for improved waste management.

Everyone suffers from the effects of waste mismanagement, but no one is incentivised to change. Haryali Hubs solve this by bringing together households, recycling businesses, government officials and existing waste-pickers to provide sustainable rubbish and recycling hubs in vulnerable and marginalised slum communities.

Households pay a very small fee to participate in a daily door-to-door rubbish collection that is carried out by employees using hand-held carts. The waste is taken back to the hub, where it is sorted into different categories. Organic waste is turned into high-grade compost that is sold to farmers. Some plastics, metals and paper is sold onto local entrepreneurs or recyclers.

The hubs pay a living wage to their employees, who have been used to being exploited and made to work in modern-day slavery conditions. The hub employees receive training, dignified job titles, uniforms, safety equipment (eg face masks and gloves), health insurance and living wages.

Where possible,the jobs created by the Haryali Hubs will go to women. This is challenging, as cultural norms in the slums tend to prevent women from working outside the home. Waste collection is seen as a male preserve. The hubs will create sensitive education programmes in the community, and work hard to ensure that female employees do not experience harassment.

Non-recyclables, including plastics such as film and thin bags (40% of the waste collected) will have to go to landfill, but no waste will be left on site overnight in order to stop vermin gathering.

Beyond the hubs, schools, mosques, churches, and local organisations will be mobilised to:

  • raise awareness about the need to reduce waste, and
  • lobby for greater local government action on rubbish being disposed of safely, and
  • call for more waste to be recycled so it can stop polluting the environment and stop putting lives at risk.

The project in numbers

  • 3 community-based social enterprises will collect, treat and recycle waste.
  • By the end of 2022, 9,000 homes (representing 54,000 people) will have a rubbish collection service.
  • A further 12,000 people will learn about the importance of reducing waste at workshops.
  • By the end of 2022, waste will be reduced by 216 tonnes per year, with ocean-headed plastic and waste publicly burnt being cut by 13 tonnes per year.