Pakistan push for industrial treatment

Effluent from industrial units throughout Pakistan is being thrown into canals and rivers through drains, contaminating fresh water sources, said the State Minister for Environment...

Effluent from industrial units throughout Pakistan is being thrown into canals and rivers through drains, contaminating fresh water sources, said the State Minister for Environment, Maj (retired) Tahir Iqbal, in remarks made on 21 June 2004 to the National Assembly. Industrial firms, however, are legally bound to install treatment plants to ensure that their effluent discharge meets National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), he added.

The government is helping to establish more combined effluent treatment plants in large industrial estates by arranging concessional funding and equity participation. These efforts will create a basic legal infrastructure in a few months time, he said.

According to a recent Economic Survey of Pakistan, urbanisation and industrial development has placed immense stress on national water resources.

According to the World Health Organisation, the groundwater of Lahore up to 700-ft-deep is seriously contaminated and should not be used for human consumption. More than 50% of all samples collected from 17 locations were found unfit for human consumption due to bacterial contamination. The survey attributes the overall deteriorating quality of water to a continuous drop in the water table, resulting from high industrial and agricultural demands. The water table has decreased at a rate of 10 feet every year.

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