It’s not a fear factor. Nor is it a likelihood. It is happening in one of the poorest countries of the Asia. The citizens of its biggest city have no choice but to drink polluted water. An industrial cluster of its upcountry is directly dumping its effluent into it without any treatment. It is Karachi the mega city and economic hub of Pakistan. This all is happening owing to the willful negligence of a cluster of industries and the authorities that are responsible to control all types of pollution in this city. They can be equally blamed for this offence.
Polluted water or industrial growth
It does not happen all of a sudden. It is the outcome of the criminal silence of those who afraid to snub polluting industries. They fear if they take action against such industries, their already fragile economy would receive more hit. They are afraid of industries exit from the economic scene. They do have a reason of their fear because so many industries have already shifted to neighboring countries because of long-standing energy crisis in Pakistan. The energy shortage in Pakistan is the result of the corrupt and bad governance in its energy sector. The second reason of industries exit is unending wave of terrorism all across the country.
Polluted Kinjhar lake is a Ramsar site
The city of Karachi receives water from Kinjhar Lake one of the declared wetland by Ramsar Convention. It is an international treaty made in 1971 in Iranian city of Ramsar to protect the main wetlands of the world. All the signatories of this pact – Pakistan is one of them – are bound to protect their Ramsar-declared wetlands from all types of threats including pollution. However, Pakistan failed to fully abide by this agreement because of its lethargy towards environmental care and protection
Industrial effluent being dumped into KB Feeder canal
There is a canal in Sindh province of Pakistan that is called KB Feeder. It supplies water to Kinjhar Lake where from polluted water is pumped away to the whole city of Karachi through water supply system. The same industrial cluster located some 200 miles up from Karachi dumps its entire effluent in KB Feeder that eventually flows down into the Kinjhar lake.
Industries pressurize the government
Sometime ago a political-cum-environmental leader of the Sindh province of Pakistan tried to take legal action against those industrialists who dump the effluent of their units into the Kinjhar lake through KB Feeder. But they threatened to shut their industries if they are forced to treat their effluent before disposal. They are of the view they cannot afford treatment expenses as they are already suffering from higher cost of energy and raw material. Because of their threat of shifting their industries from the country to somewhere else government had to take lenient view of their environmental violation. The leadership of Sindh province of Pakistan overlooked their act of polluting because they know Pakistan cannot afford more exit of industries. It is already suffering from economic woes where business is at its lowest point of slowdown.
Compromise on polluted water
But the compromise of leadership on pollution just to make a few hundred industries to continue staying in the country now brought up an environmental disaster. The leaders of the Sindh province of Pakistan successfully protected the industries to continue polluting the drinking water being supplied to Karachi city. But they made this compromise over the health of 2 millions who are already facing rising lawlessness in the city apart from prolong power outages and gas shortage.
People of Karachi the worst sufferers
The water after being polluted by the industries of upcountry industrial cluster – Kotri – was recently analyzed in an environmental laboratory. All the pollution parameters of this polluted water are 100 per cent more than the World Health Organization standards. It is a widely growing fear that after drinking this polluted water the 20 million citizens of Karachi may suffer from fatal water-borne diseases like gastro and kidney cancer. This city has no other option to fulfill its drinking water needs.
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