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February 12, 2016

Water in 478 schools undrinkable, to be filtered


February 12, 2016


The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has decided to install water filtration plants in 478 schools where water is undrinkable and unfit for human consumption.

The chief minister had directed the CDGL a few months ago to carry out a comprehensive water sampling of schools and test the quality of drinking water being supplied in the schools.

Under this campaign, samples were taken from 1,150 schools and the report of this testing was kept under lock and key and no official was allowed to speak a word about the findings.

On Thursday, a high-level meeting chaired by DCO Capt (Retd) Usman and was attended by EDO (F&P), EDO (Works and Services) and other senior officials to discuss installation of water filtration plants in government schools from next week.

It was decided that in the first phase water filtration plants would be installed in as many as 478 schools where water was undrinkable and not fit for students’ health. It was also decided that this task should be completed towards the end of June 2016. The DCO told the meeting that the danger of hepatitis and other diseases would end after installation of water filtration plants.

“It is worth mentioning that Scatter System Plants will also be installed in the schools which will enable WASA to use and monitor these filtration plants”, he said.

Sources said according to the survey report serious chemical and bacterial contamination was found in most of government schools. Arsenic, fluoride and other chemicals were also found in water in many schools. E-coli and other bacteria were also found.

Polluted drinking water has already become a serious threat to Lahorites as most of localities are getting water with chemical and bacterial contamination resulting in different diseases, especially of stomach.

Water contamination is also resulting in illnesses such as diarrhea, typhoid, intestinal worms and hepatitis among students and teachers of these schools.

CDGL sources said that common bacterial contamination found in the samples was the presence of Coli-form Bacteria, which according to the WHO standards should be 0 in 100 ml. They said presence of Coli-form Bacteria in water is a clear indicator that sewer water is mixed in the water distribution system.

A senior WASA official requesting anonymity claimed that 80 per cent of Lahore’s underground water was contaminated. He said the reason for bacterial contamination was direct discharge of domestic waste containing household effluent and human waste to a sewer system, a natural drain or water body, a nearby field or an internal septic tank. He said presence of arsenic and fluoride in sub-soil water was the result of untreated industrial effluent in water supply sources such as rivers and canals.

When contacted, a CDGL spokesman said the district government had already awarded the contract of installation of water filtration plants at 478 schools where water was found contaminated. He said the work would be started this week and end in June 2016.

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