II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
B. Major brown or ambient environmental problems
7. Slums and squatter settlements
The prospect of finding jobs and enjoying a better life are the main reasons attracting people to the cities. But new arrivals in the cities find themselves facing a host of obstacles, many man-made, that effectively deny them any kind of decent permanent shelter with a minimum level of basic amenities (drinking water, lighting, sanitation and waste disposal). Most people therefore gravitate to the squatter colonies known as katchi abadies, where they build some kind of shelter for themselves. As a result, a big city like Peshawar suffers from the spread of slums and urban sprawl. The population densities are high and malnutrition is often widespread. Inadequate water supplies and sanitary facilities result in a high incidence of environmental diseases.
There are three critical components in confronting the urban shelter problem in the province: the non-availability of low-cost urban land, which can be utilized for housing the poor; the provision of access to affordable financing to help the poor to improve their housing; and the organization and participation of the community in planning and implementing low-income housing. The most critical limiting factor in the acquisition of shelter is non-affordability or poverty.
It is estimated that one-third of the urban population of NWFP is living in slums. Although katchi abadies in the strict sense of the definition do not exist in NWFP, since there is little State land that can be illegally occupied, the existence of slums in all the divisional/districts headquarters is now widely acknowledged. Because such slums present socio-physical problems which are similar to those found elsewhere in Pakistan, they are referred to as katchi abadies. Accommodation in those settlements comprise one or two rooms without basic necessities such as a toilet, bathroom and kitchen. All those functions are performed in the open. In the four provinces of Pakistan, 57 localities have been identified as slums. Of that total, 27 are located in the city of Peshawar. In order to ameliorate the situation, urban upgrading programmes were started by PDA and other provincial authorities/organizations; however, because of the lack of financial and technical resources those project have been suspended.