ACCORDING TO the established survey, Pakistans water situation is extremely precarious as water availability has plummeted from about 5,000 cubic meters per capita in the early 1950s to less than 1,500 cubic meters per capita today. Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that the per capital water availability would be less than 1,000 in Pakistan by 2035. Close observation suggests that around 90 per cent of the food and fibre production depends on irrigation. Out of the water tapped from the Indus basin, only 30 per cent actually reaches the roots of the crop and the majority is either lost in canals or when it is applied to fields. While 90 per cent of the groundwater is already being used through tube-wells and subsequently this water leaves a high ratio of salt content after its evaporation in the fields and increases soil salinity. In Pakistan, sewage water is rechannelled to irrigate crops, which contaminates them with pathogens badly affecting the crops. Groundwater may also be contaminated by untreated sewage. Similarly, water borne diseases have also emerged as the main killers in the country and health problems. Reports reveal that untreated industrial waste is not only affecting the environment but ultimately is also having its toll on the country’s health, by polluting the water bodies. This renders them useless for human consumption and irrigation. Consequently, it is responsible for the many water borne diseases that plague the country and account for 60 per cent of infant deaths. A wide-diversity of garbage over the harbor including plastic bags, wood and plastic originates from the municipal waste and port activities. Water circulation and wind driven currents concentrate this in certain parts of the harbour, making it unsightly and dangerous to ships as it can get stuck in propellers. This situation of water as well as environment pollution is getting worse regularly ringing the alarm bells for the authorities concerned, who must take immediate remedial steps. If the factories waste is first filtered and then disposed of properly into sea or river it can help in controlling the water pollution. As a way out, instead of using clean water, the government should promote usage of filtered water for flushing toilets, watering the plants and washing the cars. Campaigns should also be intensified across the country to create awareness among the local citizens for proper beach cleaning once in a year, besides cleaning of rivers and canals. Maintaining water quality has emerged as a critical issue for the government and it needs to rise to the situation otherwise not only the national agriculture would get damaged but also lead to spread of water borne human diseases and ultimately the country may have to face a tough time at international forums.
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