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Sanitation, drinking water issues top priority, says Afridi

Water News: 

Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi on Thursday said that development of a management information system (MIS) for water and sanitation sectors would contribute to better planning and decision-making on nationwide provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services.

He also said the MIS development along with the launch of a website on water and sanitation situation in Pakistan (WATSAN) by the ministry would help meet millennium development goals (MDGs).

Addressing participants of a workshop, which discussed the Environment Ministry’s two initiatives, Afridi said his ministry accorded top priority to redressal of drinking water and sanitation issues so as to ensure quality life for people.

He said the MIS would be controlled at the ministry’s Water and Sanitation Directorate to be established soon.

The minister said Pakistan was among countries facing serious issue of climate change and water scarcity. He said anticipated water shortage had adverse implications on safe drinking water sources.

He said sanitation conditions in the country were not very encouraging.

He, however, said, “development of MIS for water and sanitation sectors at national level will be a major landmark. It will contribute to better planning and decision-making, with the ultimate objective of increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation across Pakistan.”

Afridi said WATSAN website’s launch was meant to create a reliable source of information on water and sanitation issues.

He said he was hopeful that the website would prove very helpful for government, civil society, organisations, planners, researchers, students and common man.

Environment Secretary Javed Malik said the annual quantified loss due to environmental degradation in monetised terms to Pakistan accounted for Rs 112 billion annually due to lack of water and sanitation facilities.

Earlier, Director General (Environment) Javed Ali Khan, representative of UNICEF Pirkko Heinen and FINCON President Shahid Yousuf highlighted important aspects of the MIS development and WATSAN website’s launch.

The event was organised by the ministry in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).