LAHORE: Environmental damage together with climate change is driving water-related crises seen around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are worsened by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.
This was stated by the panelists of a discussion held in collaboration with Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Nestle to mark the World Water Day 2018 on Thursday.
WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri, Centre for Water Informatics & Technology Director Dr Abubakar Muhammad, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council Chairman Dr Yousaf Zafar and LUMS Rector Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi were among the panelists.
The panelists were of the view that when ecosystems were neglected, it became harder to provide the public with water needed to survive and thrive.
Hammad Naqi Khan at the occasion said, “Pakistan is a water-stressed country and is nearing the threshold of water scarcity. Access to safe drinking water in rural and urban areas is declining and the provision of potable water is a key issue that the people face.”
He noted that the implementation of laws pertaining to industrial effluents generated from the textile and leather industries were very weak. “Industrial waste from these industries contains heavy metals such as copper, chromium, and nickel. A large population living in the major cities of Pakistan does not have access to safe drinking water as freshwater resources are being contaminated due to multiple reasons,” he added.
LUMS Rector Dr Sohail H Naqvi said that the Indus water captured the path of a water droplet melting at glaciers and making its way through the complex domain. WWF-Pakistan in partnership with LUMS should extend its work on awareness campaigns with students, who are the future of the country, he added.
Zamir Ahmed Somroo, PCRWR Regional Director said, “The stress on safe drinking water is a basic right for humans but water is a fast depleting resource that is shared among all of us as individuals, farmers, industry, the environment and communities, and therefore needs to be protected with public-private collaborations.”
It is worth mentioning that the World Water Day is celebrated globally to highlight the importance of water-related issues by raising awareness and encouraging policymakers to look into sustainable development initiatives in cities as a support to lessen stress on urban water systems. This year, the international World Water Day is being celebrated with the extended theme of ‘Nature for Water’.