Naheed Jahangir

PESHAWAR: A research about quality of water in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has revealed that Cantonment Board in Peshawar has the most polluted water, while Hayatabad has the most clean water in the city.

The research was conducted by two researchers Inamullah and Muhammad Alam which found that water in most areas of Cantonment Board is polluted due to leakage of pipelines and rusting. Sources said the pipeline system, which was there in Cantonment Board before the creation of Pakistan, is still there which is the main reason behind water pollution. The sources said the ground water system near the Peshawar High Court and KP Assembly buildings has mixed with nullahs and the same polluted water is used for the whole city.

However, Cantonment Board Vice President Waris Afridi rejects this assertion and insists that pipelines in Cantonment were changed in 1997 and then in 2015. He said some areas of Peshawar are not part of Cantonment but they are wrongly associated with it. He said the water problems in these areas like Civil Quarters, Bara Gate and FC Cantt etc must not be linked with Cantonment Board. He said he doesn’t believe that water is polluted in the main Cantonment Board area. He said the government must establish a regulatory body for water quality.

The research has found that water on Charsadda Road, particularly the areas near Kabul River, like Gulbela, Muslim Town and Larama is not fit for consumption. It said the water level in these areas is about eight to nine feet and local people also set up gutters with toilets near the wells after which the water level and gutter level becomes the same and the water of the whole area is polluted.

The water of Hayatabad is relatively clean because the pipelines system is new and people have also set up gutters away from pipelines.

Dr Ahmed Rehman of Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) Peshawar said contaminated water caused dangerous diseases like cholera, constipation, hepatitis and typhoid.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 2.2 million people die of water-borne diseases every year and about 30 percent diseases in Pakistan are related to the use of contaminated water.

Researcher Asad Hayat said the WHO and Environment Protection Agency have set parameters for clean drinking water. He said these parameters are related to physical, chemical, biological factors.

Water laboratories have been set up at Tehsil Municipal Administration offices in Charsadda, Takht Bhai, Swabi, Chitral, Dir and Buner for water testing and ensuring supply of clean drinking water. Asad Hayat said water samples must be tested every month in summer and after every two months in winter. He said boiling and chlorination are best techniques to clean the water. He said water must be colourless, odourless and tasteless, and if it is not so then one must understand that it is not clean. He said improvement of drainage system is also vital to improve the water quality.