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Wastewater recycling can help save 250,000 kids annually: Expert.

ISLAMABAD -- The recycling of wastewater can help save lives of around 250,000 children every year, who suffer illness due to consumption of contaminated water.

These views were expressed by Yousaf Riaz, an expert on bio-remediation technology and working on recycling of wastewater for nearly two decades, on the occasion of World Water Day on Friday.

He said that out of ten beds in each government hospital, six are occupied by the patients suffering from the waterborne diseases.

He also said that the wastewater diseases claim lives of around 250,000 children every year and more than one hundred billion rupees are being spent annually on the treatment of these diseases.

He said that since inception, Pakistan is recycling 08 per cent of its wastewater.

Meanwhile, the cost of health treatment on wastewater related diseases ranges between 0.6 to 1.44 per cent of the GDP.

He said that where there is alarming situation of the water scarcity around the world, Pakistan needs to set its focus on the issue in more appropriate manner to cope with the challenge.

'Along with construction of new dams, awareness about water conservation and its recycling is more important,' he said.

He said that recycling of wastewater by encouraging the bio-remediation technology can contribute in conservation of around 40 per cent water in the country.

He said in Pakistan 32,500 hectors are presently irrigated by using wastewater as it is preferred by the farming communities due to high nutrient content and continuous availability.

However, waterborne diseases are causing Pakistan's economy $1.3 billion every year.

Yousaf Riaz also added that wastewater is one of the major sources in spread of diseases-Water borne diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and E and Diarrhea in the country.

Not only backward rural areas face this menace but the people in congested urban centres also suffer from waterborne and water related diseases, he said.

Sharing the details, he added that Pakistan's population is expected to grow to 220 million by 2025, causing further shortfall in the freshwater resources of the country.

Per capita water availability in Pakistan has already dropped from 5600 cubic meter to less than 1000 cubic meter.

Yousaf Riaz further said that total available freshwater/annum ranges between 180,000-185,000 million m3.Corresponding to Pakistan's total freshwater available/annum,4369 million m3 of wastewater is generated/annum.

Only 1 per cent of the industrially produced wastewater and less than 5 per cent of domestic wastewater is treated annually, he said.

Yousaf Riaz said that untreated industrial and domestic wastewaters are laden with toxic inorganic, organic and microbial contaminants which are serious health risks.

Approximately 25-30 per cent of hospital admissions and 60 per cent infant mortality are caused by waterborne diseases in Pakistan, he added.

Yousaf Riaz further said that wastewater environmental issues i.e. inadequate water supplies, sanitation, hygiene are serious health and agricultural threats to the country.

National Bio-remediation (NIB) developed a hybrid technology in which aquatic plants are grown in constructed wetlands, inoculated with environment friendly microbial consortia.

The technology has been shown to combat water scarcity, reduce waterborne diseases, rehabilitate bio-diversity, conserve aquatic plants and improve environment.

It provides re-useable water for irrigation of summer and winter season crops, medicinal and culinary herbs and condiments, ultimately providing highly nutrient water for irrigation, etc.

He said that a project of bio-remediation was started in the federal capital to recycle the sewage water, but was later stopped by Capital Development Authority (CDA) due to property dispute at Jasmine garden.

He said that all the dirty drainage of the federal capital could be cleaned and their water could be recycled and utilised for domestic use.

Yousaf Riaz said that recycling of wastewater will help in conservation of groundwater in Islamabad as water level is decreasing and green belts are being affected.

'Utilisation of wastewater in the federal capital can turn the city into a water garden,' Yousaf Riaz said.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 23, 2019
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