Dilemma of Safe Drinking Water in Pakistan, 18/10/2016

Safe drinking water is anurgent global challenge.And Pakistan has facedthis increasing challengesince last couple of decades.The natural disasters in the last two to three decades have made fresh water reservoirs into fragrant.Hundreds and thousands of people each year are being killed owing to drinking unsafe water.One of a poor woman residing somewhere in Sindh province, said that ‘Kidneys of my child have failed due to drinking unclean water’, that has been told her by a doctor.Thousands of such waterborne cases are on the horizon in our land.

It is estimated that around the world over a billion people do not possess access to safe drinking water.According to United Nation World Water report 2015 says that India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan alone account for about half the world’s total groundwater use.In the South Asian countries – the lone grounds of this population are increasing. Pakistan is gearing up in the population.  Presently, only the population of Karachi is over 20 million and it being calculated that by the end of 2020, It will be close to 23 million and there would be the requirement of water around 1242 MGD and the shortfall will be of 600 MGD.

Of late, it is notified by Rana Tanveer Minister for Science and Technology that more than 80 percent Pakistanis drink contaminated water.It is more than a tragedy; because Pakistan had plentiful of water just a few decades ago; though, a World Bank Report states that Pakistan is now among the 17 nations that are presently facing water scarcity.

Agreeing to a survey led by the United Nations, 84 percent rural and 62 percent urban population of Pakistan do not handle their water right.Referable to the drinking of unclean water causes many diseases, particularly children are vulnerable to waterborne disease such as diarrhea, typhoid, kidney failure, intestinal worms and hepatitis. It is assessed that diarrheal infection killsover 2 million children each year in Pakistan because of lack of safe drinking water. According to Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) out of 1000 children 101 children under age five are being deceased because of pathetic water conditions.Moreover, a survey carried out by UNICEF uncovers that in Pakistan 20 to 40 percent of the hospital beds are full with patients suffering from urine-connected diseases.As articulated by the Climate Change Vulnerability Index Pakistan is seen as a high risk country.As a consequence of consuming polluted water around 40 percent deaths occur within the country each year.

Granting to the findings of a survey report we accept four major water quality problems: 68 percent bacteriological contamination, 24 percent arsenic, 13 percent nitrate, and 5 percent fluoride.Presently, just 8 percent of urban sewerage water and 1 percent of industrial waste water is treated before discarding.It is submitted in the Nationwide Assessment Survey carried out by PCRWR, in that survey more than 10,000 water supply schemes (1808 urban and 8320 rural water supply schemes) was assessed and as a consequence of that survey, 72 percent schemes are functional and out of those only 23 percent in urban and 14 percent in rural areas are supplying safe drinking water.

Safe drinking water is a basic human right, and it is the duty of government to take severe actions and fulfill the provision of safe drinking water.Apart from it, a country round awareness campaign needs to be originated to give awareness in the far-off areas to handle the water properly before drinking. Collective and individual approaches are needed at ground level to solve this issue.

Written by Murtaza Talpur

The writer is freelance columnist and development practitioner affiliated with Peace Mission; an INGO

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