Study Declares Water Unsafe in Major Cities

ISLAMABAD: An official study in Pakistan has found drinking water alarmingly poor in all the provincial headquarters and districts in rural areas and recommended measures to ensure safe water supply to people.

The analytical study conducted in five years by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) of Ministry of Science and Technology raised concerns over the poor water quality, which is the main cause of various kinds of ailments among people of all ages.

Water samples were collected from tap, tube well, distribution network, hand pump, dug up well, stream, spring, dam, lake and river, according to the 309-page study.

Bacterial combination causes diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, gastroenteritis and other diseases, whereas, turbidity and TDS are responsible for health effects depending upon anions and the ratio of inorganic matters and substances.

It found Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial capital Peshawar to be supplying the most contaminated water to its inhabitants: as many as 270 water samples from 20 percent villages of all the union councils revealed that 97 percent of these samples were contaminated with total coliforms, 1 perent with nitrate, 6 percent had excessive level of total dissolved solids (TDS).

From a total of 47 union councils of Peshawar district, 54 villages were selected for sample collection of water.

The quality of water was not at all satisfactory in Karachi’s West District, from where 75 water samples from 20 percent villages of all the 12 union councils, including Gaddap, Bin Qasim, Landhi, Kemari and Malir were taken for the analytical study: 95 per cent water samples were found unsafe.

Of these samples, 76 percent were contaminated with total coliforms and 56 percent samples had excessive level of TDS, well below the standards of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

From Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta, 45 samples were collected from nine villages of its seven union councils, which showed after the study that 89 percent samples were found unsafe and only 11 percent safe for drinking purposes.

The analytical data established that 89 percent water samples were contaminated with total coliforms, 16 percent samples had excessive level of turbidity as per PSQCA water quality standards.

From Lahore District, 52 villages of 35 union councils were selected and 260 samples collected for the study and the overall analytical picture showed that 69 water samples were unsafe while remaining 31 percent safe for human consumption.

April 27th, 2011


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