Water Scarcity; A human Rights Issue Rather Than Water Scracity In Remote Areas of KPK

Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right, formally declared by United Nations in 2002. But each year more than 3.4 millions peoples are dying due to water borne diseases, lack of sanitation facilities and unhygienic conditions. Every four hours kills children equal to a jumbo jet crash. Each year around 60 million peoples moving to big towns and cities mostly to informal settlements i.e. slums with no sanitation facilities. Currently 780 million people had no access to safe drinking water; its approximately one out of each nine people.

Pakistan as a water sufficient country is on the verge of collapse to water deficient countries if steps are not taken on major issues. A guess can be made on future scenario if we failed to properly manage our water resources; according to natural conservation strategy report 40% deaths in Pakistan are occurring due to water related diseases. World Health Organization surveys concluded that 32% of hospital beds are occupied by patients of water borne diseases. In Pakistan only 30% population had access to safe drinking water but situation is getting worse when we moved from developed areas to the tribal and rural areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Dera Ismail khan, Lukky Marwat, Bannun are currently facing a very high level of deficiency of drinking water. The alluvial aquifers; main rechargers of drinking water sources are rich in Arsenic. Locals are travels distance of kilometers to collect water in which majority are children and females. This further favors the illiteracy rate among children and harassment of females at area giving birth to inter-communal conflicts, destroying peace of the area. The issue is more like a human rights issue rather than water scarcity because the humans and animals are drinking from the same rain ponds as main source in the areas. If the summer season lasts long then community facing severe drought conditions and when rain ponds are filled; the community is highly prone to zoonotic diseases, Cholera, Typhoid fever, Shigellosis, Diarrhoea, E.coli, Y.enterocolitica, C.fetus, Leptospirosis, Round worm, Thread worm, Whip worm, Hydatid, Guinea worm, Fish tape worm, Schistosomiasis, Hepatitis A, E, Rota viral, diarrhoea Poliomyelitis and other water related diseases.

The area has a good potential for water purification if other options are rejected due to low water table of the area. Filtration through stone pitched galleries will be more efficient and sustainable because no machinery will be used in this procedure of purifying ponds water.

In nut shell the drinking water using by this community is neither suggested by Islam, neither human rights nor any other body but these people using this water as a last option but it is worthy of thinking that what will be happened to these fragile and already weak, ruined communities if Pakistan is dropped to water scared country or climate changes showed severity in future.

Pakistan under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 on environmental sustainability, has committed to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The persistence of problem had no visible limitations stated by any responsible humanitarian organization or Govt officials but the issue is till surviving and getting worse shape after time passage. I pray this issue may not start hurting on large bases otherwise it will break the records of all past out breaks in the history of Pakistan. It’s the time to for scientific societies, humanitarian organizations and Govt Bodies to consider the threat and act before it react itself.

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About Sajid Ali

Sajid Ali is environmental columnist at Envirocivil.com

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