Contaminated water contributes to 40% deaths in Pakistan: UN

According to a study conducted by the United Nations, 62% of Pakistan’s urban and 84% of Pakistan’s rural population does not treat their water properly and hence it results in more than 100 million cases of diarrhea being registered within the hospitals of Pakistan. This further leads to around 40% deaths within the country as a result of contaminated water consumption.

Unsafe drinking water can lead to several diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, intestinal worms and hepatitis and an estimated number of 250,000 deaths occur within the country as a result of water-borne diseases.

It is estimated that more than 1.6 million DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years) are lost annually as a result of death and ailment due to diarrhea and almost 90,000 as a result of typhoid.

Inadequate quality of drinking water and poor sanitation facilities are associated with water related illness and according to a research conducted by the UNICEF, more than 20% hospital beds within Pakistan are occupied by such patients. The UN has further estimated that more than 3.5 million children are at high risk from deadly water-borne diseases in Pakistan as a result of the country’s devastating flood – 2010.

According to Pakistan Economic Survey, Pakistan has to face Rs.112billion per year due to water, sanitation and hygiene diseases cost and more than Rs.300 million per day in terms of health costs and loss of income.

The water quality monitoring (2001 to 2010) conducted in rural and urban areas of the country revealed that the access to safe drinking water is only 15% in urban and 18% in rural areas.

The findings of the survey identified four major water quality tribulations: bacteriological contamination (68%); arsenic (24%); nitrate (13%) and fluoride (5%).

Presently, only 8% of urban sewerage water and 1% of industrial waste water is treated before disposal.

The Nation-wide Assessment Survey of more than 10,000 water supply schemes (1808 urban and 8320 rural water supply schemes) carried out by the PCRWR revealed that 72% schemes are operational  and only 23% and 14% water supply schemes in urban and rural areas respectively are supplying safe drinking water.