Safe water still a far cry

A recent survey by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources reveals that surface and underground water in thirteen districts of Sindh province including all six Karachi districts is unfit for human consumption. In fact this problem is not confined to only Sindh but there is no province where one may safely say that people have access to clean drinking water.
These surveys and studies of the federal institution keep surfacing periodically but the regrettable part is that all these are falling on deaf ears with no steps being taken to bring improvement in the situation which is directly linked with health of the people. One wonders as to what will be the situation in small cities and towns when residents of big cities such as Karachi are deprived of the basic commodity of life. During Musharraf era, water filtration plants were installed in the cities to provide potable water to the public who generally assumes that the water from these plants is free of contamination unlike the water that passes through the old, rusted and cracked water pipelines of municipal authorities. However the fact remains that these filtration plants are also providing contaminated water to the people. The plants require regular replacement of cartridges, ultraviolet lamps and granular activated carbon but relevant departments do not care to fulfil their responsibilities in this regard. Since filtration plants are the only source which can provide safe water to the people, we will urge federal and provincial governments to bind WASA and other municipal authorities to ensure proper operation and maintenance of filtration plants. Local governments have a pivotal role to play in this regard. Special teams need to be set-up to regularly check the condition of filtration plants. Whilst Punjab government has taken an important step to install water purification plants at village level, we expect that a proper mechanism will also be evolved to ensure proper maintenance of these plants. All provincial governments must ensure provision of safe drinking water to their people for better health.

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