Access of pure drinking water is the basic human right but divergent to the fact, in Pakistan water and hygiene are overlooked zones. The experts say, by 2025 half of the world’s population will have to suffer with severe shortage of potable water.
When it comes to “Access of pure drinking water”, two vital dynamics linked to it are: First and foremost the water supply and secondly the water should be of optimal quality. In larger cities like Rawalpindi water supply is the major problem. In Rawalpindi, growth rate is 4% per year causing uncontrolled urban sprawling and complications towards the water distribution mechanisms.
Now the burden of providing water in such a large area has been divided because of increased number of housing societies formed as they are providing major portion of population and work load has been shared. One of such housing schemes is Airport Housing Society near Benazir International Airport Rawalpindi having 4 sectors. As the area has slightly hilly topography so water supply is an issue. General public is facing problems concerning the adequate supply due to broken pipeline and mixing of potable water and sewage lines. The management authority of the society has installed filtration plants to ensure quality water for the residents of society. Residents who use the water from filtration plants said that, “although there are problems for water quality, yet it is better than having muddy water. They are not sure whether the plants work or not. Still was having huge number of people visiting the plant. One such plant is in Sector 1 having an underground storage tank from where the purification unit draws water. That tank is filled by water conveyed by tankers from tube well.
During the visit, when I had a look inside the room having filtration unit it felt as I was looking into a warehouse. Large steel pipes were lying in the room blocking the view of plant and other machinery inside the room. Collection site and plant looked more like a signboard covered with posters and advertisements. Waste water stream was flowing in front of plant collection area having more solid waste than water giving foul smell, housing flies and mosquitoes. Another problem is that people forget to close taps after the container is filled. Water flows out until next one is placed, wasting considerable amount of water.
Management authorities should pay attention towards this issue but all cannot be done alone by them. Unless the citizens take up the responsibility and change their attitude towards the problems. And focus more on their own actions rather than blaming the authorities. Because authorities can only place waste collection bins but they cannot put the waste in it. It is up to us to put it in the bin rather than putting it directly into the waste stream which ultimately creates problems for us