Lack of water treatment plants: Wastewater of housing societies polluting Sunday Mar Dam
The wastewater of Sectors E-16 and E-17 and Tarnol area of Islamabad is polluting the Sunday Mar Dam, located in the federal capital territory, causing serious problems for agriculture and fishing.
Drainage of wastewater into the natural stream of Sanday Mar Dam without treatment has turned out to be a major health hazard and public health and environmental disaster. The executive engineer of Small Dams Division Islamabad of the Small Dams Organization, Irrigation Department, Punjab, has written three letters on June 22 and June 10 (copies of which are available with The News) to the two cooperative housing societies located in Sectors E-16 and E-17 and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman, urging them to stop the discharge of effluent into the streams or natural creeks in the catchment area of Sanday Mar Dam in order to save the natural resources. The dam water is used for agriculture by lower land riparian and fisheries purposes.
The separate similar letters sent to the two cooperative housing societies said that he Rawal Dam Sub Division, Islamabad has inspected and reported that they are developing in the catchment area of Sanday Mar Dam.
It is very seriously noted that their wastewater is drained into the natural streams and creeks in the catchment area of the Sanday Mar Dam without treatment. The letters directed the societies to take necessary measures to immediately stop the discharge of effluent into the streams and natural creeks in the catchment area of Sanday Mar Dam in order to save the natural resources otherwise strict action under rules will be initiated.
The copies of the letter were sent to the CDA chairman and Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (PEPA) director general. The letter to the CDA chairman repeated what has been written to the societies with an addition that some housing societies of the area are requesting for supply of raw water from the Sanday Mar Dam for drinking purpose.
It also said that the treatment plants should be installed and ensured that no wastewater is directly discharged to the natural streams without treatment. In the eighties, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) gave a hefty grant to build the Sanday Mar Dam for irrigation of the Potohar belt, mainly in Rawalpindi division.
It provides water to Paswal, Bhadana, Sangjani and Sarai Madhu villages. Filled by the rainwater, the facility caters to the needs of these areas throughout the year. The two housing societies are approved by the CDA.
An official said that it is a mandatory condition of such approval that the housing societies would have their own water treatment plants. Because of seepage of water from the Sanday Mar Dam, the adjoining areas also get drinking water through hand pumps etc. from underground. Toxic water is also coming in the food chain because of drainage of wastewater in the dam, he said, adding that it was the responsibility of the CDA, Islamabad administration and PEPA to take prompt measures to stop the sewage water coming into the dam.