Barely 15 days old, Kinza whimpers at an Islamabad hospital where she is suffering from diarrhoea and a blood infection, a tiny victim among thousands afflicted by Pakistan's severely polluted and decreasing water supplies.
Cloaked in a colourful blanket, Kinza moves in slow motion, like a small doll. Her mother, Sartaj, does not understand how her daughter became so ill.
"Each time I give her the bottle, I boil the water," she tells AFP.
But Sartaj and her family drink daily from a stream in their Islamabad neighbourhood—one of several waterways running through the capital that are choked with filth. Boiling the water can only do so much.
They are not alone. More than two-thirds of households drink bacterially contaminated water and, every year, 53,000 Pakistani children die of diarrhoea after drinking it, says UNICEF.
Cases of typhoid, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis are rampant. According to the UN and Pakistani authorities, between 30 and 40 percent of diseases and deaths nationwide are linked to poor water quality.
And it is costing the developing country billions. In 2012 the World Bank, which has warned that "substantial investments are needed to improve sanitation", estimated that water pollution costs Pakistan $5.7 billion, or nearly four percent of GDP.
"Water is the number one problem for the country," says professor Javed Akram, vice chancellor at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad.
In Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, the situation is even worse than in Islamabad.
The Ravi River which supplies the city's 11 million or so inhabitants with drinking water also serves as a spillway to hundreds of factories upstream.
River fish are eaten by locals, but "some papers show that in the fishbones, some heavy metal contamination (is) found," says Sohail Ali Naqvi, a project officer with the conservation group WWF.
The Ravi is also used to irrigate neighbouring crops, which are themselves rich in pesticides, warns Lahore environmentalist Ahmad Rafay Alam.
The lack of water infrastructure is glaring. In a country where the "environment is not part of the political agenda", there are "nearly no treatment plants", warns Imran Khalid, a researcher at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
"Those who can afford it buy bottles of water, but what about those who cannot?" he says.
In Karachi, a megacity whose population could be as many as 20 million people, mafias fill the vacuum left by the creaking local network, selling the precious water they bring in by tanker trucks at high prices.
In the face of widespread indignation, Sindh along with Punjab province, together home to more than half of the country's population, have already announced measures to improve water quality, though their efficacy is yet to be seen.
But Pakistan's water is not only contaminated—it is becoming scarce.
Official projections show the country, whose population has increased fivefold since 1960 to some 207 million, will run dry by 2025, when they will be facing an "absolute scarcity" of water with less than 500 cubic metres available per person in Pakistan.
That's just one third the water available in already parched Somalia now, according to the UN.
'Lack of education'
Pakistan, a country of massive Himalayan glaciers, monsoon rains and floods, has just three major water storage basins, compared with more than a thousand in South Africa or Canada, says Bashir Ahmad of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.
As such any surplus is quickly lost, said Ahmad, who denounced "a lack of political vision" to counter the nationwide water crisis.
While official statistics show that 90 percent of the country's water is used for agriculture, the massive irrigation network, built decades ago by British colonists, has deteriorated.
Much of its use appears to defy common sense. "We are neglecting the northern areas, where there (is) a lot of rainfall, to focus on irrigated areas like Sindh or Punjab," says Ahmad.
There, in arid areas where temperatures can soar up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Pakistan grows water-intensive crops such as rice and sugar cane.
"The crisis is looming. In all urban areas, the water table is going down day by day," warns Muhammad Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources.
Pumps draw deeper and deeper into the water table, where the arsenic content is naturally higher, he warns. An international study in August said some 50 to 60 million Pakistanis are slowly poisoning themselves with arsenic-tainted water.
Yet waste remains the norm. In Islamabad, roads are sprinkled to drive away dust, cars are washed daily, and verdant lawns watered generously.
"We own our houses, but not our streams," Ashraf sighs. "That's why we dump our waste in the rivers."
Explore further:Arsenic risk in Pakistan much greater than expected
© 2018 AFP
12:47 PM (GMT +5)
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Water crisis, Impacts and Management in Pakistan
Water crisis, Impacts and Management in Pakistan
o World Bank report
o Causes pertaining to water crises in Pakistan:
- International causes:
1. Step-mother attitude of Sir Radcliff in the boundary commission.
2. Violation of Indus Basin Treaty by India.
- National causes:
1. Lack of proper management by government
2. Unrest between provinces on sharing of water and inefficient role of IRSA
3. Lack of dams and modern irrigation system
4. Kalabagh dam-A controversial issue
5. Wastage of water and its lack of significance among public
6. Challenges of IBIS-Pakistan
- Natural cause:
Increase in global warming and chlorofluorocarbons
o Impacts of glooming water crises:
- Global impacts:
- Threat of war between Pakistan and India on war
- Local impacts:
1. Devastation of agriculture
2. Loss of economy
3. Scarcity of water will cause unrest among people
4. Pakistan will bound to purchase water from foreign countries
o Management of water crises:
- International levels:
Pakistan should involve SAARC and UN to urge India not to make dams on western rivers
- National level:
1. National development economic programme 2005-10
2. Construction of dams and their improvement:
Raising Mangla dam
3. Utilisation of water:
- Power generation
4. Water price should be increased.
5. Nationwide campaign for the importance of water.
Many have lived without love, but no one without water.
Water is one of the precious natural resources in the world. It has a great significance for both living and non-living things. Unfortunately, it is becoming a hot potato among countries due to its scarcity. Particularly in Pakistan, the situation is quite alarming. Although Almighty Allah has blessed it teeming with abundant resources but when it comes to water, due to couple of reasons, Pakistan has fallen into the abyss of severe water crises. According to World Bank report, availability of water in Pakistan was 5000 cubic meters per capita in 1950 but now it has been dreadfully fallen to merely 1490 cubic meters per capita. There are several reasons which have caused such downfall the violation of Indus basin water treaty by since 1980 when she started making dams on three western rivers namely Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. Indias nefarious steps against Pakistan have proved a death-nail for Pakistan. Moreover, in 1947, the matter of utilisation of water resources of Indus basin was raised by Pakistan and the boundary common, chaired by Sir Radcliff awarded control barrages to India, while 90 percent of irrigated land lay in Pakistan. Notwithstanding, the misery does not end here because lack of poor management by government, unrest among provinces claiming right on quota of water and inefficient role of IRSA, lack of dams especially the issue of Kalabagh dam, wastage of water its seepage coupled with its lack of importance among people and also absence of a system of affluent disposal on barrages and canals in Punjab and Sindh being the challenge of IBIS-Pakistan have further triggered the water crises. The rapid change in climate followed by global warming also adds fuel in its scarcity.
Now the impacts have arisen to an alarming situation because there is a threat of war between Pakistan and India on water. If water crises prevail, it would be fierce blow to agriculture sector of Pakistan in the result of its devastation and it will lead to an immense loss of economy because agriculture is a backbone of the country and it contributes about 24 percent of its GDP and 70 percent of exports are also dependent on this sector. The scarcity of water will also cause unrest among people and Pakistan would be bound to purchase it from foreign countries.
To efficiently manage such glooming crises of water, it is the dire need of the hour Pakistan should involve SAARC and UN to urge India not to make new dams on rivers having exclusive right as per Indus basin Treaty and stop making work on Wullar, baglihair, Kishanganga and Uri II project. The National Development Economic Programme 2005-10 started by ex-Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani to constructe new dams by 2016 was indeed a great step. The improvement of dams, preservation of ground, and especially construction of Kalabagh dam would be very beneficial. The raising of Mangla dam by 40 feet and construction of Thal reservoir, Bhasha dam and Gomal dam are such worth taking measures that can efficient manage the prevailing water crises.
The proper utilisation of water by irrigation, power generation, drinking and industry should be practiced. Its quite evident that people waste water due to its low monetary value. The government should increase its price so that people use it carefully. Nevertheless, a nationwide campaign and headed by government with the help of media to let people aware of the importance of water, its present crises and ways to manage would be and effective measure to get the country out of water crises.
Criticism is highly appreciated.
Nasru minal'lahi wa fat'hun qareeb
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Saturday, November 15, 2014
A comprehensive and formidable approach brother
If you don't like any rule . .Just follow it, reach the top, And change the rule . .
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