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Lack of investment in WASH facilities jeopardizing nutrition: Report.

ISLAMABAD: A report has specifically pointed out lack of investment in fecal waste management, combined with

the expansion of low quality toilets, as the most critical determinant of weak nutritional outcomes in

the country.

This is main theme of the report of World Bank titled "When Water Becomes a Hazard A

Diagnostic Report on The State of Water Supply, Sanitation and Poverty in Pakistan and Its

Impact on Child Stunting."

The report launched here earlier claims that this had not only sustained high levels of diarrhea,

it had also created the perfect setting for environmental enteropathy [a disease of the intestine,

especially the small intestine].

"What has not improved, and has arguably worsened considerably, is the level of bacterial

contaminants in water and in the soil levels, referring to water contamination of water in Punjab.

This contaminated water is used for drinking purposes, largely without any treatment, as well as

for food production, creating powerful oral transmission mechanisms for fecal waste to find its

way into both adults and children," the report said.

"This has created a major health hazard in Pakistan. Access to improved water has come

primarily from greater reliance on groundwater, and access to improved latrines has come from

an increase in flush toilets connected to leaching pits or septic tanks connected to open drains,"

the report added.

The report further added that combination of these two types of infrastructure could provide a

perfect recipe for the source contamination of drinking water when the distance between the point

of intake of water and the point of disposal of human waste is below recommended levels and the

groundwater aquifer is shallow.

In the presence of open drains and soak pits, the distance of the household's water source from the toilet

becomes an important factor in determining source contamination, it said. However, interestingly a total of

sixty four housing schemes were reported to be explicitly polluting the water of Rawal Dam and Sawan River,

leaving the former at the brink of fatal contamination and jeopardizing the Sawan River water a natural in a

pathetic way.

The official sources also revealed that the illegal housings were established without obtaining any No

Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and environment impact

assessment report from Environment Protection Agency (EPA). To utter dismay, the housing societies

were not illegal, rather lacked suitable sewage and sanitation system.

Consequently, improper disposal of waste through different tributaries and drains was released into

Rawal Lake, said a CDA official requesting anonymity.

He said it was unbelievable to see that household, human and animal waste including corpses of

flora and fauna, plastic garbage could be seen floating in the reserviour during extreme rainfalls through

the adjoining areas.

He said not only illegal housing, rather poultry farms and industrial units were also established near

Sawan River, out of which some were set up at deserted and far off locations and were not easily

accessible.
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 17, 2019
Words:488
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