Contaminated Water- The Nation

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The Pakistan Council of Research of Water Resources (PCRWR) tested 29 sources of potable water for toxicity levels across the country and found 20 of them to be entirely unsafe. Apparently, the public has been drinking water laced with high levels of arsenic, iron, fluoride and even brain-eating amoeba and the provincial governments have turned a blind eye to the health hazard entirely. With the matter being discussed in the National Assembly, it is vital that all authorities—including the federal government, ministry, provincial governments and relevant departments—embark upon a purification drive.

A report released by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) earlier this year revealed that the country’s industrial waste, poor sewerage system, agricultural run-off and unplanned urbanisation are all primary causes of the contamination of drinking water, and this polluted water was being consumed all across the country. It is no surprise then that our water supply has become a thriving environment for dangerous bacteria and viruses like the brain-eating amoeba that killed six people this month alone. Considering how this further aids the transmission of polio, hepatitis, influenza and even coronaviruses, alarm bells should be ringing and the authorities should be scrambling for finding viable and immediate solutions.

Already, the KP and Punjab governments approved water policies that revolved around making it mandatory to check water quality once a year. Surely it takes no expert to state that this may not be enough; our country requires a comprehensive strategy that involves laws regarding proper disposal procedures and a detailed purification process. Filtration, distillation, chlorinating and reverse osmosis have been scientifically proven to create effective barriers for pollutants and bacteria to remain in the water. However, if these are proving to be unsustainable for the government, the least it can do is provide incentives, like tax cuts or subsidies, for corporations to either develop more sustainable methods or take over the large-scale purification process.

Regardless of what route we take, now is the time for the government to remain determined and motivated politically and socially. If we are to battle the impending water crisis, we must eliminate pre-existing problems first.