A recent report of the Pakistan Medical Association states that nearly two-thirds of the country’s population is deprived of clean potable water. The report notes that Pakistan’s poor water quality is responsible for 30 percent of illnesses and 40 percent of deaths in Pakistan. Access to clean drinking water in a basic human right. Due to unavailability of the same people are forced to either buy bottled water at their own cost and expense, or else make do with boiling tap water, which is unfit for human consumption and responsible for all kinds of diseases. Boiling water may not necessarily kill off all harmful disease-causing bacteria or remove heavy metals generated from industrial waste. The discharge of various effluent, waste and pollutants into water bodies, including industrial pollution, not only causes harm to the environment and marine life, but most importantly, it adversely impacts human health and mortality. A contributing factor to poor water quality is the unregulated discharge of untreated waste into water bodies and an absence of effective filtration systems. In the absence of policies and corresponding enforcement of water quality regulation by state authorities, the risk of danger to the public will continue to grow.
PILAP has written an RTI to the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency inquiring into the levels of effluent, waste or pollutant discharged into national waters relative to the National Environmental Quality Standards or under any standards established by the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency under section 6 (1) (g) of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997; How PEPA monitors and enforces compliance by persons, industrial, commercial or other operations with National Environmental Quality Standards for water, or under any standards established under section 6 (1) (g) of the 1997 Act; How PEPA takes action for ensuring the cleaning or filtration of any drinking water that may have been found to contain levels of effluent, waste or pollutant that are beyond those specified by the National Environmental Quality Standards or those established under section 6 (1) (g) of the 1997 Act; and any national environmental policies formulated by PEPA in relation to water pollution and clean water generally.