Water is the basic necessity of life. All the living organisms, including human demand clean drinking water. Everybody in present era seems to be complaining like all these diseases are due to contaminated drinking water is not it? Of course, yes, unfortunately our drinking water is contaminated with different physical, chemical and biological agents. But heavy metals are attaining more interests due to their high toxicity at a very low concentration in human beings. Among heavy metals, arsenic is of the carcinogenic nature requiring immediate attention because of its uncontrolled contamination in drinking water. Arsenic is naturally released with mineral dissolution while its concentration is accelerated anthropogenically by pesticide application, glass producing units, semiconductor manufacturing companies, wood preservation and metal smelting which ultimately contaminates drinking water. Humans are becoming victims of arsenic mainly by contaminated water used for drinking, cooking and also by ingesting contaminated food. Being solubilize in water, it is more rapidly absorbed by the human body.

India and Bangladesh were victims of this evil, but now you are surprised that Pakistan is also facing this challenge. In Pakistan electronic media have emphasized many times on the alarming situation of arsenic contaminated water. World health organization (WHO) has declared 10 ppb dangerous limits for arsenic in drinking water, when we look at the drinking water situation in Punjab about 20% population is on risk of arsenic; highest arsenic was observed in the Muzaffargarh district, residents of Sheikhupura and Lahore are forced to drink arsenic containing worst water. Dadu and Khairpur in Sindh district are also at menacing situation.

Most affected human organs by arsenic concerned with accumulation, absorption and excretion such as kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and intestine. The arsenic poisoning is responsible for abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Arsenic involved in skin diseases like Hyperkeratosis, pigmentation and skin lesions. Higher exposure to inorganic arsenic is responsible for muscular pain, inflammation in stomach, lung and intestine, abdominal pain and decreased blood cells production. Poor mental health was observed in people more exposed to arsenic. Arsenic substitutes useful bio-metals in different cellular processes, causing severe malfunctions of cellular activities. Arsenic is carcinogenic substance which can also caused blackfoot, ischemic heart and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Most of the arsenic compounds being colorless and odorless making its diagnosis difficult. To get rid of arsenic contamination major obstacle are costly determination of arsenic, dearth of policies and poor planning. Mainly two effectual techniques can be employed to eliminate arsenic from water. Reverse osmosis require more energy and produced waste water in bulk. Comparatively, arsenic filter is feasible and more efficient method but not manufactured locally. A very few numbers of filtration plants are installed to provide good quality water only in Lahore which are not enough to fulfill the water requirements of such a big population in city. Even most of water supplying companies is not paying attention to provide arsenic free water.

To avoid dangerous effects of arsenic people should be educated to actively participate in successful intervention. Government should handle this issue on a priority basis and make policies to ensure arsenic free drinking water. Water supplying companies should also consider the threats of arsenic and provide good quality water.

This article is collectively authored by  Muhammad anyat Ullah, Haseeb Tariq, Amjad Abbas, Muhammad Amjad Ali Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

EditorialArticlesArsenic,chemical,drinking,poisonous,waterWater is the basic necessity of life. All the living organisms, including human demand clean drinking water. Everybody in present era seems to be complaining like all these diseases are due to contaminated drinking water is not it? Of course, yes, unfortunately our drinking water is contaminated with different...Pakistan's Only Newspaper on Science and Technology