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ISLAMABAD: 44% Pakistanis drinking unsafe water as world observes Water Day

By Mahtab Bashir

Access to safe water and sanitation is a daily battle for the people of rapidly growing cities, especially in slums. As many as 72 million Pakistanis out of a population of 180 million are deprived of having access to safe drinking water as the country is observing World Water Day today. Water experts urged the authorities to fill the fissures in the water management plan to cope with the growing number of population and meet the target of Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

According to sources in Ministry of Environment, as many as 72 million Pakistanis i.e. 44 percent population does not have access to safe drinking. On one hand there is scarcity of water, while on the other hand the water available is prone to various biological, chemical and Physical contaminants. There is a dire need to purify and filter the available water in order to ensure protection from water born diseases and disorders.

The ever-increasing growth of population in Pakistan has intensified the situation. Traces of multiple deadly rudiments including the human feces have been found in water by laboratory reports mega cities. This situation shows height of criminal neglect exhibited by the civic bodies towards public right of safe drinking water. Provision of pure water to all the people by the government is not only a basic need and precondition for a healthy life but also a vital human right of every single human, which mustn’t be ignored at any cost.

Pakistan’s water quality ranks 80th out of 122 nations. Consequently, government has to spend about Rs. 20 billion annually on medication for water borne diseases.

Sources maintained that the global water shortage safe drinking water was conspicuously visible in the country with an estimated 44 percent of its population without any access to safe drinking water. “This paucity of clean drinking water is more visible in rural areas where up to 90 percent inhabitants are deprived of their basic right. On the other side, only three percent of Pakistan’s sweet water resources are used for household purposes and drinking,” said sources.

It was also learnt that majority of the population in Pakistan is destined to use or drink from unkempt and polluted water system and due to that, various problems have arisen-increasing the number of terminal diseases like Hepatitis etc. For those who can afford to avoid this unclean drinking water, bottled water is the only solution. Therefore, many have turned to bottled water (mineral water). Despite being costly and unaffordable for the masses it has been reported even the packed mineral water bottle is not for all time fit for human health as intermittent testing of contaminants and sporadic inspection of processing plants show that not all bottled water plants are being run according to health and hygiene standards set forth by the U.N.

It is anticipated that more than 2.5 lakh infants die of diarrhoea diseases every year. Chemical contaminants in drinking water such as arsenic, fluoride and nitrate are discovered at various locations. Arsenic contamination is found in southern Punjab and central Sindh. Contamination in drinking water is the major cause of many serious water borne diseases.

Source: Daily Times

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