Research Note: Drinking Water Quality Challenges of Pakistan


There are 884 million people in the world who lack access to safe drinking water; approximately one in eight (3.575 millions) persons die each year from the water-related diseases. The unclean drinking water and filth of sanitation claims more lives by diseases than any war can claim by guns. Poor people living in slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than the wealthy people living in the same vicinity. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the per day use of water by an average citizen living in a slum of a developing country. As majority of diseases are caused by fecal matters, in every 20 seconds one child dies due to water-related illness. Non-availability of water at their home, specially drinking water, women living in remote areas have to carry water from wells, water pumps, canals, etc., and those living in cities slums may have to bring it from the government taps, from nearby wealthy homes, etc., and spend about 200 million hours a day in collecting water for their home use. Though, people have to make extra labour to avail water and face health and hygiene problems due to less availability of water; but there is no priority for access of water; in spite, they have a mobile than a proper toilet. In developing countries, due to lack of interest of the community in welfare and involvement in activities, 50 per cent of the water projects have failed. Less than five per cent of them are visited and far less than one per cent is at far longer-monitoring terms. Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to the economic growth. For one invested Dollar, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates return of $3 to $34, depending on the technology used and the region of investment. Almost, two in every three people who need safe drinking water, survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day. Households, not public agencies, often make largest investment in the basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment, typically as 10:1. Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance, in a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

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