It is a common scientific research that human body can survive for three weeks without food but in case of water, there is a different story. Water is an essential component of our diet without which we humans are unable to survive for more than three days. This illustrates the worth of water in our lives. But this renewable resource of water is declining and is being polluted ever since the industrialization has begun in full swing. Industrialization on one hand, promotes economic development within any country but on the other hand, it has led to serious consequences on peoples’ health since it leads to severe deterioration of water quality making it unfit for domestic uses.
According to Article 11 and 12 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:
"The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses"
This confirms that it is the responsibility of government of every state to guarantee the fulfillment of these rights and to ensure the provision of clean drinking water to all citizens. Thus, for the same purpose, CDA has taken initiatives in Islamabad by installing water filtration plants for the availability of clean filtered water to the residents. These filtration plants have, to some extent, reduced the risk of water borne diseases and many other detrimental effects on consumers.
Although these filtration plants can be useful in providing clean drinking water to the locals yet there is a chance that these plants turn out to be the cause of altering water quality because of their outdated infrastructure, less technical capacities or any breakage or leakage in the filtration system. Such conditions can decline the water quality to a great extent.
The survey to filtration plants of Islamabad has unfolded many mysteries to me. The water coming from the taps of filtration plants was apparently clean without any impurities and the public there was busy in filling their water bottles and cans. As assigned to a project, we needed to collect the pre-treatment water samples from those plants from a locked cubicle at the backside of each filtration plant. The filters there, at some units were in a miserable condition; in short they were the habitats of algae and fungus.
In some CDA water filtration plants, there were broken or no taps and the floor seemed to be muddy with the dirty water coming out of the taps. Thus, it appeared that cleanliness as well as maintenance of these filtration plants is being totally neglected by the concerned authorities.
We also inquired from the public visiting the filtration plants about certain issues regarding the quality of filtered water and the functioning of the plants. Unsurprisingly, most of them were unsatisfied from the hygienic conditions of the plants. However, it doesn’t make sense to me that how can people be so unconcerned about themselves or their families that even after having knowledge of everything, they are still consuming the seemingly unhealthy water without even complaining to CDA for their improvement. They just simply answered that they were underprivileged people what cannot do anything to bring improvements.
Only one of the visitors told me that he had tried many times to complain to CDA but the only thing he heard was the ringing bell of the phone which has never been answered by anyone.
The question arises who is answerable for all of this: the authorities or the public? In my opinion, both are responsible. The public should play its role in giving effective suggestions for the improvements and modifications in the filtration plant structure and the authorities like CDA should take immediate and appropriate actions to deal with the problems of the citizens. Only then, it will be possible to acquire pure, clean and adequate water for all.