If you’r overweight, you can’t reduce it here. If you don’t like pulses, you can’t avoid eating them. If you want to go vegan, you can’t do this. Even if you want to have a balance diet of meat, vegetables and pulses; you can’t make an ideal balance in this seventh biggest city of the world.
Why eating vegetables is harmful to health in Karachi?
More than half of the total 20 million population of this city has no choice but to eat poisonous vegetables. Yes poisonous vegetables because they are grown by sewerage water. Not of civic sewerage but of industries. Not of ordinary industries but of tanneries that release highly toxic wastewater. They wash the hides of animals with poisonous chemicals to process it for converting them into leather. That wastewater full of chemicals is watered to vegetable fields spreading in hundreds of acres.
Why government doesn’t control poisonous farming?
You are thinking right. Why government doesn’t stop this malpractice. Why government does not provide the vegetable farmers clean water for framing. Why eating vegetables is injurious to health here.
I give you answer of all your questions in just one sentence. Despite efforts of 15 years no one could have stopped this malpractice. Media – both print and electronic – covered this harmful farming hundreds of times but failed to arouse any administrative response.
Civil society organizations even sued the organizations that are supposed to stop this harmful activity. But poisonous vegetables are still grown near Lyari and Malir rivers of Karachi. You must be thinking it is good to grow vegetables on the bank of a river. But these are not fresh water rivers. Once upon a time maybe they were but now they are simply streams of sewerage water and industrial effluent that falls directly into the sea.
Why did environmentalism also fail?
Many environmentalists and social activists tried as much as they can to stop the cultivation of vegetables with industrial effluent but no one listened to their plea. Even it was brought to the notice of higher courts but again no one could have stopped this malpractice.
Out of 20 million residents of Karachi nearly 40 per cent eat these poisonous vegetables and how much of them become its victims, it is not recorded because of absence of any consolidated data on this mysterious cause of deaths. Obviously city administration will not record their own story of criminal negligence.
Half of the poor population of this city is consuming it. It has no option because prices of vegetables grown with clean water are very high.
Let me tell you clearly about the criminal collusion of three culprits to boost the harmful farming of poisonous vegetables.
- Those who release industrial effluent without treatment
- Those who create water shortage
- A greedy mafia of cultivators who use city land for agriculture purpose
Who releases industrial effluent without treatment?
This is one of the most powerful groups of people in Pakistan. They or their next of kin are in federal and provincial assemblies of this country. They make laws to protect the country from all types of hazards. They make laws but never follow them. They make laws to break them. This is their hobby. It has been going on for centuries.
They give huge donation to all political parties. They sit in clubs and gymkhanas in the evening with those who have to enforce green laws. So how come someone take action against them. They are free to spoil our environment. They are free to play with the lives of masses. They are the king-makers. That is why no king of the country has courage to take action against them.
Who creates water shortage in Karachi?
This is a sub-collusion of several groups of people. Among them are water supply department, water hydrants and city representatives. They first supply water to areas where from a loud protest may come back. After that they ration the water to poor localities.
They willfully don’t make projects to store rain water. They don’t install treatment plants to reuse wastewater. They are mostly inefficient and corrupt. That is why they create artificial water shortage and earn money from water tanker mafias working in the city. No one can stop them from creating water shortage. This shows how powerful they are or how strong patronage of rulers they have.
It is also reported in several newspapers that a mafia of cultivators pay huge bribe on monthly basis to officials of district administration, pollution control agency and civic authorities of the area.
Agriculture is already on decline in the country. Big farming lords don’t let small farmers to grow their business. That is why small farmers quit their centuries-old profession. They migrate to cities here in Pakistan. Wherever they find a chance to attach with their quit profession they do it. They happily grow crops with poisonous water. They save water expenses and double and triple their earnings. So this is the greed that makes farmers avoid buying clean water and instead use effluent for free.
True story of Halima
Halima lived in a slum known as Bilal colony near that nasty Malir river. Soon after shifting in that area she was so pleased to find very cheap vegetables in a nearby market. She used to buy the cheap vegetables and cook them so delicious with her cooking expertise. Her husband and children were so happy to eat vegetables in abundance otherwise they had to manage with meager amount of veggie curry. All were getting healthy. But sometimes she and her husband felt pain in stomach but thought it was due to change of area and because of poor quality of water.
Once she felt pains in her stomach in the midnight. She could not have stopped yelling and her husband and sixteen years old son took her to nearby government dispensary. There was no any proper treatment facility in the dispensary and they had to take her to a little bigger hospital of government. They could not afford a private hospital because of higher fee. As soon as they reached the bigger hospital she could not have survived and took her last breath at the threshold of the hospital. Her son ran as fast as he can carrying her body on his shoulder but his sprint even could not have worked. Doctor declared her dead because of eating food grown with poisonous water.
Who is key responsible?
District administration of Karachi is responsible for the continuity of cultivation of vegetables with industrial effluent. But they adopt a criminal silence on it. Industries of Korangi and Landhi are equally responsible for the death of Halima and several other unreported deaths. Most of these industries release their effluent without treating it and release it directly into Malir river. The pollution control agency of the area has not that much capacity to stop industries from doing this heinous crime. Secondly industrialists are so powerful and they even can send the officials of pollution control agency back to their homes if they take strict stance on their violation.
In short the bloody collusion of criminal offence of industries, silence of pollution control agency and district administration is the main reason of cultivation of poisonous vegetables with industrial effluent. Despite of active judiciary and a comprehensive environmental law this malpractice has been going on since decades because of corrupt and inefficient enforcement mechanism.
No record of death count
No one knows how many people die every year because of eating poisonous vegetables in Karachi. There is no any system of recording data of casualties because of any type of pollution in the city. The sad aspect of this havoc of industrial effluent is that no one can feel the pain when someone’s mother dies because of eating poisonous vegetables. If powerful lot of the city had to consume the same vegetables they might have solved this problem long time ago. So do you agree now that eating vegetables is injurious to health in Karachi?
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