Unsafe drinking water causes 40% deaths annually in Pakistan


January 09, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Around 62% of Pakistan’s urban and 84% of rural population do not treat their water and resultantly 100 million cases of diarrhoeal diseases are registered in hospitals and 40% deaths are caused by polluted water.

Present trend of urbanization in the country is expected to increase up to 42.8% in 2020 and up to 63.7% by 2050, which will further decline the access to safe drinking water in the coming decades.

This increase in population and urbanization will have direct impact on the water sector for meeting domestic, industrial and agricultural needs. Thus access to the safe drinking water is expected to further decline in the coming decades.

Inadequate quantity and quality of potable water and poor sanitation facilities are associated with a host of illnesses and a large number of child deaths occur each year in the country due to water-borne diseases. Unsafe drinking water is source of many diseases, including diarrhoea, typhoid, intestinal worms and hepatitis.

According to a report of Pakistan Council of research in Water resources (PCRWR), it is estimated that more than 1.6 million DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years) are lost annually as a result of death and ailment due to diarrhoea and almost 90,000 as a result of typhoid. A study conducted by UNICEF found that 20-40% of the hospital beds in Pakistan are occupied by patients suffering from water-related diseases.

Talking to state-run APP news agency, Spokesperson PCRWR Lubna Naheed said that PCRWR has played its role as a national research organization, by undertaking and promoting applied as well as basic research invarious disciplines of water sector.

Keeping in view the deteriorating water quality situation, the PCRWR initiated water quality assessment and management programmes for the first time in the country, she said.

Lubna Naheed said the water quality monitoring conducted in rural and urban areas of the country revealed that the access to safe drinking water is only 15% in urban and 18% in rural areas.

The findings of the survey identified four major water quality tribulations: bacteriological contamination (68%); arsenic (24%); nitrate (13%) and fluoride (5%). Presently, only 8% of urban sewerage water and 1% of industrial waste water is treated before disposal.

Spokesperson PCRWR said need is to create awareness among people regarding impotance of safe drinking water so that many precious lives could be saved.

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