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February 20, 2020

Nature-based technologies stressed to tackle water challenges

Lahore

February 20, 2020

LAHORE: WWF-Pakistan, under its project International Labour and Environmental Standards Application in Pakistan’s SMEs (ILES), funded by the European Union, and in collaboration with Water Care Services Pakistan, organised a day-long international conference on21st Century Water Challenges and Industrialization.

The conference held at a local hotel here on Wednesday focused on the current water and wastewater challenges being faced by Pakistan with emphasis on innovative, cost-effective and nature-based treatment technologies. Sohail Ali Naqvi, Manager Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan discussed how water stewardship can play a positive role in the water management of the country.

He also emphasised on strengthening linkages of the government with all relevant stakeholders to promote pragmatic and prompt water stewardship. Moreover, he emphasised that the EU funded ILES project is assisting the textile and leather sector to adopt cleaner production technologies.

DD EPD Mian Ejaz said in his address that no doubt environmental issues are posing more serious threats to humans than they ever have, time is crucial and it is important that targeted actions in the right direction are taken without any delay. However, we need to understand that environmental challenges cannot be solved by a single institution or government, he said.

They can be mitigated through a stakeholder inclusive approach as all individuals are equal custodians of the environment, he said and added the increasing population, over abstraction, lack of storage and pollution are some pressing issues related to the water challenges in our country.

Eros Kaw, CEO, BioCleaner Technology USA presented his patented technology, which uses microbes to treat water efficiently. He elaborated that BioCleaner provides an eco-friendly solution that can help treat wastewater so that it can be reused within industries and elsewhere (except for drinking purposes).

The most innovative feature of this technology is that it does not require to be fed with bacteria constantly. Rather, a single batch of bacteria can last for as long as 20 years within the system. Maheen Malik, Country Coordinator, Alliance for Water Stewardship also talked about the urgent need for collective action pertaining to water management and elaborated that as water is a shared resource, water management not only entails working within one organization’s geographical boundary but should transcend conventional boundaries and borders in a uniform and transparent way. She also apprised the audience about the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard that helps major water users make their process sustainable through widespread stakeholder engagement and integrated water resource management.

She proudly announced that Pakistan is the first country in the world that is implementing the given framework in the textile sector with the assistance of WWF’s ILES project. Other speakers also expressed their views and emphasised that rapid urbanisation or industrialisation is negatively impacting the quantity and quality of water resources in the country.

Another challenge highlighted was the urgent need for commercially viable and economically feasible solutions for wastewater treatment as water from municipal, agricultural and industrial sources is not only degrading but also contaminating the quality of naturally available ground and surface water, creating serious health risks. The conference was attended by a diverse group of participants including industrialists, researchers, academics and government officials who actively participated in it as speakers and participants.