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Water, water, everywhere

But not a drop to drink!

The press’s criticism of a government stems not from political biases, but a responsibility to point out hard truths that must be faced and serious crisis’s that must be resolved. And despite the Pakistan government’s efforts to improve standards of living in the country via trade and infrastructure development, the fact remains that the lack of basic facilities is causing more harm than those in power seem to realise. Minister Science and Technology’s admission in yesterday’s session in parliament are therefore doubly alarming – not only because he admitted that 80% of the population exists without potable drinking water, but because this is still an issue in 2016 – 9 years after an organisation was created to resolve just that.

The PCRWR was established by the government with two motives: to analyse and resolve the situation of contaminated water resources. They’ve partially succeeded: reviewing samples collected from almost 25pc of Pakistan’s districts, even managing to establish labs to develop low cost testing kits and water purifying tablets – commendable efforts, which should be lauded. What they’ve failed to do however, is come up with effective long term solutions – and that’s not because they lack qualified staff, it’s because they lack sufficient attention from administrative bodies, not to mention funding. The result: a steadily growing list of qualified professionals leaving the much needed projects for better opportunities and the diversion of funds from other departments just to keep the labs functioning is cause for great concern.

Letting this problem sit on the back burner any longer is suicidal – not only because the consumption of contaminated water can result in a variety of diseases ranging from diarrhoea and cholera to birth defects and cancer, but also because of the financial cost: the medical expenses to be borne by the government that will increase as a result of this negligence – both factors a developing country can ill afford. Responsible budget allocation must therefore become a priority for the government, redirecting from high visibility projects to real problems: providing necessities of life to the people.

Source: Pakistan Today.