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May 19, 2015

The dying Ravi: Land of five rivers reduced to three?


May 19, 2015

ISLAMABAD: With two dying rivers, the land of five rivers is fast becoming a land of three rivers. Hamid Mir in his latest special investigative show unearthed the predicament of heavily choked Ravi. Through conversation with locals residing along the banks of the Ravi and environmental experts, the latest episode of ‘Capital Talk’ discusses how the Ravi has been a dead river. The clear waters have been clogged by factory waste and stinking sewerage water from twelve nullahs of Lahore city. The life inside river including rare fish (khagga) has been heavily endangered to almost extinct levels, as well.
Environment Minister for Punjab Col (R) Shuja Khanzada, and environmental experts Hamad Naqi Khan and Dr Kausar Abdullah Malik, the participants of the show, all brought up grave concerns over the hazards faced by the Ravi.
Shuja Khanzada, in conversation with Hamid Mir, admitted how the Ravi, along with the River Sutlej, is at the helm of death. The reduced level of water in the Ravi is now but an accumulation of industrial waste and sewerage. The river water, then, used for irrigation becomes source of varied diseases through vegetation grown from it.
The ill-fated river receives 1,500 cusecs of untreated waste daily, along with additional 500 cusecs from Indian Punjab.Adding more hazard are the illegal housing schemes in river suburbs. The environment minister expressed resolve to proceed against factory owners that didn’t follow environment rules and didn’t have proper treatment procedures.
He said the ministry was in close collaboration with River Ravi Commission to help resolve the issue. According to him, land has already been allocated at Mehmood Boti Dyke for setting up a treatment plant. Dr Kausar Abdullah Malik, Chairman for Ravi Commission, however, maintained that the commission faced lack of cooperation from the Environment Ministry. He expressed hope that the River Ravi, although apparently dead, can still be brought back from

brink of clinical death.
Hamad Naqi Khan, Director General of WWF, Pakistan, declared the river to be dead and urged authorities to take up Ravi issue in their priority list.The locals residing along river bank lamented the fast diminishing cultural activities that revolved around once teeming Ravi.

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