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Karachi

July 16, 2017

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‘90pc of Karachi’s drinking water unfit for human consumption’

‘90pc of Karachi’s drinking water unfit for human consumption’

The judicial commission, formed by the apex court to probe the Sindh government’s alleged failure to provide clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the citizens in the province, was informed on Saturday that the people were being provided water mixed with human waste.

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) told Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, a Sindh High Court judge who is heading the one-man commission, that water supplied to the people of the province for drinking was found contaminated with human waste.

It said 90 per cent of the drinking water provided to the residents of Karachi was not fit for consumption and could be hazardous to health.

The council said in a report that 88 per cent of water in Larkana was contaminated and contained 60 per cent of human waste, water in Hyderabad contained 42 per cent of human waste, Jamshoro 75 per cent, Tando Allahyar 36 per cent, Badin 23 per cent and Tharparkar’s water had 28 per cent of human waste.

Water samples had been collected from 71 hospitals of 14 districts of the province, and they contained 33 harmful elements for human life. 

The report, which shows a deplorable condition of drinking water in hospitals, has been submitted to the health secretary, who stated that it was the responsibility of the local councils to provide water to the hospitals, and the health department was concerned only with ensuring that the water tanks in the hospitals were duly clean.

However, the health secretary complained that since he could not take action against medical superintendents who actually looked after the affairs of the hospitals, his directions for providing clean drinking water were falling on deaf ears and were not being implemented.

The advocate general, however, stated that the health secretary was fully empowered to take action against delinquent officials and could recommend action against them. 

The judicial commission directed the medical superintendents of all hospitals to make substantial arrangements to provide clean drinking water immediately to the people in their jurisdictions. 

They were also directed to submit compliance reports at the next hearing and then subsequently periodical reports every month about the quality of water in their respective hospitals.

The local government secretary was also directed to submit a compliance report.--PPI  

The report came a few days after the water utility’s chief chemist claimed that water in the city not only contained chemical impurities but also lethal bacteria, including E coli and coliforms, found in sewage, News Desk adds.

The Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) had collected water samples from six different parts of the city after two locals died of a Naegleria fowleri (brain-eating amoeba) infection last month.

When the samples were analysed for chemical and microbiological contamination at the KWSB’s own lab, they were found extremely tainted and unfit for human consumption, reveal the analysis reports obtained by The News.

N fowleri had claimed the life of 55-year-old Suhail Tabassum, a resident of Al-Noor Society in Federal B Area’s Block 19, on June 26, while 29-year-old Ali Amjad, a resident of KDA Scheme No 1, died on June 28.

Following the two deaths, the KWSB was criticised by different quarters for providing contaminated water to the city and not chlorinating it at the utility’s pumping stations. Chlorination is the only effective method to disinfect water supplied in bulk quantities.

The censure compelled the water board to conduct an immediate analysis of the quality of water it was supplying to the unsuspecting citizens of Karachi. Water samples were collected from two mosques in KDA Scheme No 1, where Amjad used to go for prayers, a lawn and the man’s neighbourhood.

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