BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Naz Ara had always been cautions about her family’s health. And perhaps that’s why she was always cared much about using clean drinking water.
A water filtration plant nearby her home in Gilgit had addressed her concern to a larger extend.
The Water Filtration Plant at Kashrote was one of the dozens installed during general (R) Pervez Musharraf government to provide clean drinking water facility to general public.
The facility nearby her home was opened for public twice a day for almost an hour – in the morning and evening.
Ara would take the bottles to the plants and filled them out daily, ensuring the facility offered by the government free of cost is availed fully. She often advised her neighbors to benefit from the facility to stay healthy.
“Why are you bent on spending on health of your family? This is uncalled for. Why don’t you avail the facility made just for you?” Ara would also ask her neighbors most of who relied more on the tap water available to them at homes instead of fetching the water from the filtration plant that was just on a five-minute walk.
But she was baffled when she read a news report in a paper in December that government issued orders to close down all the filtration plants in the city as the water wasn’t fit for human consumption.
The deputy commissioner Gilgit Ajmal Bhatti in December ordered closure of the plants after Environmental protection agency [EPA] termed its water unsafe for the human consumption.
“I was just bewildered. It was a shocking news for me as I had been using contaminated water for so long. Not only this, I also urged others to follow the suit,” said Ara who is mother of three children and lives in Kashrote area.
“I know realize that those avoiding ‘this facility’ were better off,” the dejected mother told Outpost this week.
Ara was certain the caretaker would be doing the necessary cleansing of filtration plant regularly keeping the quality of the water high.
“Of the 56 water filtration plants we inspected, only two were in good order while the rest were providing contaminated water containing high number of E.coli colonies.,” said Khadim Hussain, an assistant director in the EPA.
E.coli is an indicator organism of water quality. When it found in water samples, it means water contains other pathogenic microorganism which can cause typhoid, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and many other diseases in human beings.
According to experts, water pollution is one of the major threats to public health in Pakistan. Drinking water quality is poorly managed and monitored. Pakistan ranks at number 80 among 122 nations regarding drinking water quality. Drinking water sources, both surface and groundwater are contaminated with coliforms, toxic metals and pesticides throughout the country. Various drinking water quality parameters set by WHO are frequently violated.