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‘40pc of deaths in Pakistan occur due to poor water quality’

By Our Correspondent
September 01, 2019

Around 135,000 deaths per year are attributed to ambient air pollution, making it the leading cause of sickness and death in Pakistan while about $48 billion is the estimated economic burden of air pollution in the country.

Air pollution and lack of proper waste management infrastructure are the major environmental issues in Karachi. The year 2025 has been marked as the year when Pakistan if it doesn’t mend its ways soon will turn from a “water-stressed” country to a “water-scarce” country. In Pakistan, it is estimated that about 30 percent of all diseases and 40 percent of all deaths are due to poor water quality.

Muhammad Waseem Vohra, convener of the FPCCI Central Committee on Industry Academia Collaboration on Water Resources, shared these disturbing figures at the 52nd Public Awareness Seminar on “Saving Water and Environmental Sustainability”, held at Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi on Wednesday.

Dr Panjwani Center and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) jointly organised the seminar. Vohra said that the government must focus on legislation, advanced technology development and public participation to conserve the country’s water resources, and provide every Pakistani sustainable access to safe water supply.

The most water is used in the irrigation of agriculture lands, stressing the particular significance of the country’s agriculture sector, which contributes about 25 percent of Pakistan’s GNP, he said.

He informed the seminar that it was estimated that, in Pakistan, 30 percent of all diseases and 40 percent of all deaths are due to poor water quality. The poor water supply was caused by the lack of water availability, he said, and pointed out that water pollution was mainly caused by heavy utilisation of water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial purposes.

He lamented that the various forms of pollution had increased in the country, as Karachi was facing extensive environmental and health problems. Air pollution, lack of proper waste management infrastructure and degradation of water bodies were the major environmental issues in Karachi, he added.

Therefore, saving water in all areas domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors would be followed on modern lines and legislation should be made as per flaws found by experts in our society, he said.

Pakistan has major dams with a storage capacity of water of 102 million cubic feet, while the availability is 140 million, which shows that a considerable amount of water is being wasted or it flows into the sea, he pointed out.

Our agriculture is using 95 percent of water available from the Indus River system, he said, adding that this system based on Stone Age irrigation techniques needed to be changed with a modern system.

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