Mismanaging drinking water
Karachi still stinks of garbage strewn along its roads and spreading diseases. Now there are also complaints about contaminated drinking water causing diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis A. Year after year there have been reports of deaths caused by naegleria fowleri, a brain eating amoeba, which lives in water not properly chlorinated at pumping stations. While people in other provinces also suffer from these diseases, the largest number of patients belong to Sindh. Years long neglect has led to the pollution of the Manchar Lake which is Sindh’s largest source of fresh water. The lake is now laced with arsenic, mercury, magnesium and cadmium.
On a petition from a Karachi citizen last year the Supreme Court appointed a judicial commission to look into the matter. The commission sought the help of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) to undertake an analysis of the water in the province. Its report maintains that 90 pc of Karachi’s drinking water is unfit for human consumption. Human waste was found in water examples taken from six cities of interior Sindh ranging from 88 percent in Larkana to 28 percent in Tharparkar.
Since 2008 the PPP has ruled Sindh for more than nine years without break. For the last four years it has ruled the province single-handedly. It has therefore none to blame other than itself for the sad state of affairs in the public health sector. Corruption combined with negligence have led to the present situation. Within a year after coming to power in 2008 the Sindh government obtained a loan of $500 million from the Asian Development Bank to deliver sustainable water supply, sewerage and solid waste services in a safe, efficient and effective manner in eight districts of upper Sindh. The North Sindh Urban Services Corporation (NSUSC) was set up to perform the job. The funds disappeared without improving the quality of water or the introduction of a better solid waste management system.