The quality of drinking-water is a powerful environmental determinant of health. Assurance of drinking-water safety is a foundation for the prevention and control of waterborne diseases. For this purpose, after examining water supply or sanitation systems in Slums of Islamabad the next target was chosen to be GOLRA Islamabad (E-sector). After visiting the area it became apparent that there was no CDA water supply in the entire Golra but people were pretty much satisfied with their bore water systems. They were contented with the quality or quantity of water available.
One of the good things was people living in these areas were blessed with better living conditions as compared to slums or has proper toilet facilities. Only two to three houses were encountered in which inhabitants were living in miserable condition and no toilet facility was there for their comfort. Their house was of mud-structured. It was a pain to see them living in such harsh conditions. One of the houses was in such a pitiable stipulation that we could barely stand in even for its exploratory purpose. Inside the house a grand mother with two small infants was sitting plainly in a scorching heat of sun on a ground floor. One child was hardly a year old who was weeping and other was enjoying his meal.
Now would you believe what was witnessed?
The child’s face having meal was entirely covered with house flies; the only time the flies go away is when the child lifts his spoon close to mouth. He was in poor hygienic condition yet he seemed to be enjoying having his day meal. It was much hard to control sympathetic behavior towards the unfortunate child.
The reason for flies’ presence was the pile of junk that was present inside the house and it was the only reason for such discomfort scenario. I was goaded with a constant buzz sound of bees even though the stay was less than a minute. It’s a point to ponder that how the entire family have been persistently living in that environment’ whether they got used to it or they lack adequate resources to change their living a bit.
For a general understanding it’s must to mention that flies breed in manure. Horse manure is the preferred medium, but human, cow, chicken, or other forms of manure will work just as well. Because flies have such a close connection with manure, they are synonymous with filth. Flies have hairs all over their legs that can carry particles of manure with them wherever they go, thus spreading germs to wherever they land. Interestingly, it seems as if the fly itself is aware that it is dirty. Have you ever noticed that a fly frequently rubs its front legs together? It is actually cleaning its legs because there are small receptors on them. Basically, any organic waste or manure is a potential breeding ground for house flies and by removing the waste you will do a lot towards getting rid of the houseflies, that is, unless you want a personal experience with Love in the Time of Cholera.
Though people had proper water supply or sanitation system in Golra Islamabad but one of the worst things that can ever happen to residents is to reside beside huge heap of trash. As huge foul mounds of trash was witnessed in the way; people were inquired regarding it that where they used to dump their garbage usually. It was astonishing that people smilingly said; just two-steps away from their homes. They do wish to live in a clean environment but sadly they were not ready to walk an extra mile for achieving it. It’s a famous saying:
“God help those who help themselves”
If one wants to live in a better environment then he must strive for it, because fortune only comes to those who make every effort to encompass it.
As said; “do your best and then leave the rest to God”
After a pause, they miserably stated that no authority was apprehensive enough for maintaining cleanliness of the sector. Once a trash being deposited by them it is never removed from the spot by any concerned authority.
Now here, I must acknowledge that the residents of Golra were really cooperative. They frankly discussed their environmental issues or problem’s with us. They had a belief as if we will spark a positive change around them. They had a hope that one day various concerned organizations will emerge to solve their garbage disposal problem due to which mostly infants are likely to get affected.
By the end, main problems responsible for this situation observed includes; lack of priority given to the sector, lack of financial resources, poor hygiene behaviors, and inadequate sanitation in public places including hospitals, health centre’s and schools. Providing access to sufficient quantities of safe water, the provision of facilities for a sanitary disposal of excreta, and introducing sound hygiene behaviors are of capital importance to reduce the burden of disease caused by these risk factors.
An effort was put to dig out the environmental related issues faced by residents of Golra Islamabad. I am optimistic about their better future ahead and hope various NGO’s will take some Environmentally Sound steps to make it possible.