WHEN WE study other nations, especially about the life spams we come to know that average life of other peoples is far longer than ours. Survey reports that average life span in America is 78.74 while in Pakistan it is about 66.44. Our life expectancy is not good due to actually poor diet, poor access to affordable health care, poor personal health habits and just plain poverty while these factors are mostly absent or minute in other developed nations. In our country no. of doctors for certain patients are also less comparatively. Even other developed nations have developed proper boards and societies for healthy diets and food safety etc. This makes their even common person much aware of the current health risks there precautions and remediation. We know that health is wealth which is gained by the safe food. Safe foods have following benefits to the humans a. Reduces food borne illnesses b. Protect consumers, your reputation c. Enhance confidence. Safe food not only increases the life span of the humans but also keep them active. Without health, we cannot easily share in loving relationships with our families and friends, fully participate in our chosen work, contribute meaningfully to our communities, or effectively compete on the global stage. Comparatively a healthy person is more relax, has more vitality, is in better shape, have better mental health, can manage stress better, have more self-esteem, he can control his weight and even his habits and thinking.
Health is the basic right and fundamental need of humanity with-out it everything feels ruined but in the condition of Pakistan if we visit any hospital it is full of people suffering from different types of chronic diseases. These diseases are now the part of their genes, are transferring from one generation to another generation. People who are above the age of 45 years are mostly grabbed in diseases because after this age the immunity is reduced or had minimized to such a level that it cant resist disease attack. Many different types of diseases have been spread in the country such as cancer, heart failure, liver disorders mainly hepatitis c virus, hypertension and many more. Survey reports tell that almost every fourth person in Pakistan is infected with HCV. Almost 80,000 people die yearly due to this chronic disease. Cancer is considered the 2nd death-cause in Pakistan still having no proper preventive measures and cure.
In this scenario Pakistan had invested a lot in importing medicines to cure such diseases. Many antibiotics and vaccines had been imported, many hospitals and research centers have been established in the country but with passage of time situation is getting worst. Doctors suggest many precautions and utilization of natural and organic foods but everything looks like obscured. Root cause of the disease is food because the food which we are consuming now a day is unsafe due to many reasons. Trend of food utilization has changed from fresh food to processed food, people like the food which may be more tasty but not healthy, due to which many kind of pollutants adds in it agriculture food is also adding many kind of pollutants in the foods due to over use of pesticides and other fertilizers which are mostly unsafe for the health. Recently a pesticide named DDT had been used was the main cause of cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, it causes hormonal disorders which further steps to cancer. Moreover due to the irrigation of polluted water such as waste water from textile industries and tanneries have many kind of pollutants. This waste water can have bacteria, viruses, road-salt, sea-salt, cyanide, hydrogensulfide, thiocyanates, thiosulfates, heavy metals, pesticides, poisons, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, hormones and other unwanted material which is soluble in the water and may be up-taken by the plants.
Due to its nutritional value farmers use and please to use the waste water, it improves growth of crops and increases income, increases the value of the land where waste water is available for irrigation. Land value is increase up-to 50 to 100% where waste water applied but its can have certain heavy metals like aluminum phosphide, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, lithium, manganese, mercury, silver, tin, thallium, and zinc with following disorders in humans like diabetes, hypopigmentation, hyperkeratosis, cancer (lung, bladder, skin), Proteinuria (indication of kidneys damage), osteomalacia (bones problems), goiter (neck enlargement), Wilson disease (hepatic and basal ganglia degeneration), respiratory and neuropsychiatric (mental disorders) diseases.
To overcome this disorder we must use tolerant crops against heavy metals. First step is the selection of such varieties which do not uptake the heavy metals secondly such amendments can be used that binds heavy metals in the soil and do not let them uptake by the plants. Scientists recommend different amendments to the farmers like all organic amendments binds the heavy metals, biochar, gypsum and other chemicals of calcium sources can be used for heavy metals fixation. Waste water must be treated and heavy metals should be removed before the irrigation.
The authors are from 1 Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, and 2 Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur.