How serious is the risk to Pakistanis from arsenic contamination of groundwater?
How serious is the risk to Pakistanis from arsenic contamination of groundwater?.
The study’s estimate is that up to 60 million people in Pakistan are consuming the polluted water.
There have been previous studies carried out on a smaller scale locally, indicating similar results.
Groundwater extraction through wells and tube-wells gained much popularity with both people and the government as a safer alternative to surface water from rivers that was contaminated with bacteria.
Once pumped from the ground, this contaminated water is again introduced into the system without proper filtration and treatment processes and makes way into the food and water we consume.
We are exposed to arsenic through drinking contaminated water, using contaminated water in preparing food, and irrigating food crops with the contaminated groundwater.
We have to actively integrate the knowledge available so far into development activities as well as drafting regulations for the water supply sector.
Mitigating the effects of arsenic will require a multi-sectoral approach.
The agriculture sector needs to be bound by strict regulations for groundwater extraction, its sustainable usage, and water quality controls.
Pakistan’s population was recently estimated to be at around 200 million people.