STAFF REPORT ISB: The Punjab government, while taking a step forward towards improving the quality of life, based on sustainable development of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, has allocated a handsome amount of Rs 10 billion out of its annual budget.
This allocation would be consumed to run the project – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) – across the province.
The WASH project has a cross-cutting effect on several aspects of our life like health, education, female education, poverty, food security (watch helminths in pot bellies of the children in slum areas).
“Developing WASH helps development by sparing quality time of mother with family saved from long distance water collection and saves women from hassle of going out and waiting for long hours for open defecation which also exposes them to harassment,” said Muhammad Jahangir, an expert on WASH, while talking to the Technology Times.
WASH has a multiple cross-cutting impact on sustainable development, seriously affecting the quality of life in South Asia and Africa, health, education, female education and development, financial resources and food security as poverty or backwardness has a strong nexus in developing world.
“This project is a unique opportunity to have an insight in to the issues of under-developed world and being a part of a sincere attempt to address it,” the water expert said.
He said that the project team is working on a situation analysis and consolidation of existing information regarding water sanitation and hygiene in Pakistan, the policies of drinking water, sanitation and health.
“You will be working with your expert faculty and virtually with stakeholders in Pakistan via video conference, telephone, email and smart phones. This activity is expected to be constantly supported by our focal person in Pakistan who has sufficient exposure to WASH situation in Pakistan and south Asia,” he maintained.
Provision of potable water especially in South Asia has become an alarming problem as infectious or contaminated water for human use is causing multiple diseases like stomach disorder, diahorrea, hepatitis, etc. according to a World and Health Organization report, millions of children die to various water borne diseases across the world every year.
Jahangirmentioned some quick fix tips to improve drinking water in Pakistan and South Asia.
1. Order cleaning of all water tanks and bold print next cleaning date on the tank for at least four times a year.
2. Order every water supply system, providing water for more than 1000 consumers, to get its water tested for suitability to drink, in accordance with the PSQCA standards four times a year.
3. Instruct all organizations employing more than 50 people, to check their water being discharged for EC, pH and total solids and report to PAK EPA on monthly basis.
4. Hospital in charge to check and report about hospital waste disposal, EPA.
About the role of consumers in improving WASH situation in the province, the water expert said that major responsibility in this regard lies with the federal and provincial governments, yet the consumers themselves can contribute a lot by taking responsibility o ensure quality of water.
Under this project, the water provider is required to get water sample being supplied for drinking analyzed from a lab of reputation every month and this analysis should be in accordance with the Pakistan Standards And Quality Control Authority (PSQCA). The water results will be shared with public every month via press and radio, he said while sharing details of the project.He also suggested that in case of water supplied being unfit for consumption according to the prescribed standard, a strict action should be taken against the said manager including fine and suspension.