Islamabad [Pakistan], August 11 (ANI): Most of the prominent cities in Pakistan, including megacities do not have safe drinking water for citizens.
Pakistan government on Monday disclosed in the National Assembly about the abhorring situation when federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz on the floor of the house answered in response to a question asked by Mussarat Rafiq Mahesar of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on safe drinking water, reported Dawn.
The data presented by Faraz showed that out of the 29 cities where underground water was tested by the Pakistan Council of Research of Water Resources (PCRWR), there are 20 cities where more than 50 per cent water obtained from various sources was found to be unsafe.
The PCRWR declared 100 per cent underground water in three cities -- Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah) in Sindh and Gilgit -- as unsafe for drinking.
The other cities having more than 50 per cent of its underground water contaminated, according to the PCRWR, are Multan (94 per cent); Karachi (93 per cent); Badin (92 per cent); Sargodha (83 per cent); Hyderabad (80 per cent); Bahawalpur (76 per cent); Sukkur (67 per cent); Faisalabad (59 per cent); Peshawar (58 per cent); Tando Allah Yar (57 per cent); Sheikhupura, Abbottabad and Khuzdar (55 per cent); Loralai (54 per cent); Quetta (53 per cent) and Gujranwala (50 per cent), reported Dawn.
The underground water was found to be contaminated with arsenic, iron, fluoride and bacteria. The minister said the water quality monitoring (2020-21) of other 29 cities of the country had revealed the prevalence of bacteriological contamination (39 per cent), followed by arsenic (8 per cent), nitrate (4 per cent) and fluoride (4 per cent) etc. Overall, he said, 38 per cent of the monitored water sources were found safe for drinking in 29 main cities, reported Dawn.
"The first symptoms of long-term exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic are usually observed in the skin and include pigmentation changes, skin lesions and hard patched on the palms and soles of the feet (hyper Keratosis). These at later stages may result in developing skin cancer. Long-term exposure to arsenic may also cause cancers of the bladder and lungs," said the minister.
When the questioner asked Faraz to explain what steps the federal government had taken to provide safe drinking water to the citizens, the minister said water was a provincial matter after the passage of the 18th Amendment in the Constitution.
He said the job of his ministry was only to carry out tests of water through the PCRWR. He said the periodic water quality monitoring reports of the PCRWR were published and shared with the provincial and local governments for undertaking improvement measures at their end, reported Dawn.
The questioner has specifically asked the question about the presence of dangerous chemicals in underground water in Bahawalpur and whether the same water was being used by the people of Bahawalpur which was causing many diseases.
In the second part of her question, she has sought details of other areas and cities of the country and the details of total projects of clean water launched by the government in different areas this year. (ANI)