The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the removal of Karachi Water and Sewage Board Managing Director Misbahuddin during hearing of a case on the government’s failure to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to the people of Sindh.
A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Faisal Arab were hearing the case pertaining to the lack of provision of safe drinking water and sewage system to the people of Sindh.
A judicial commission headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro formed to investigate the matter submitted a report in court today which revealed that drinking water supplied to Sindh contains viruses that cause Hepatitis-B, blood deficiency and malnutrition in children.
The report revealed that certain deficiencies and diseases have spread throughout the province due to the consumption of the substandard water.
It also claimed that the water supply system in Karachi and Hyderabad was impaired and the water provided to both these cities substandard.
The court was also told that there are around 700 substandard Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in the province that were not checked after their completion.
According to the report, the laboratories formed along with the RO plants are non-functional as even basic instruments for water testing are not present in these labs.
The report also said that it cannot be determined if the management of the water board knows of the presence of foreign bodies in the water, and raised questions regarding the mismanagement evident in the water and sewage board system across Sindh.
The commission had told the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) to assess Sindh’s drinking water system on Jan 4. The PCRWR presented its report on March 4 and said that the water provided in 13 districts of Sindh is hazardous for human consumption.
PCRWR took 300 water samples from Sukkhar, Larkana, Shikarpur, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Tharparkar, Hyderabad and six of Karachi’s districts and conducted them for bacterial presence. The PCRWR report deemed most of the water in these areas both above and below ground unsafe for human consumption.
The PCRWR report further said that a new waste management system that cost millions of rupees was bought, but the city’s garbage disposal situation is yet to be improved save for in some posh areas.
The court was also told that Manchar Lake which is said to be Sindh’s largest source of fresh water is now polluted and the water in the lake is laced with arsenic, mercury, magnesium and cadmium.
During the hearing, Chief Secretary Sindh Rizwan Memon was asked about the measures the Sindh government is taking regarding the protection of Manchar Lake from pollution.
The court displayed displeasure at the Sindh government’s performance regarding protection of the lake and ordered that better measures for environmental protection be taken.
Maqsood, Fawad. SC sacks KWSB MD after report reveals substandard water supply in Karachi, Hyderabad. Business Recorder, March 6, 2017.