“Know your tap water” is a project started by Earthly Perspective Magazine in collaboration with PakVitae to create awareness about the right to have safe drinking water in communities. The questionnaire is designed by careful consideration of the behavior of people towards the choice of drinking water.
In Pakistan, most of the population lack access to safe drinking water. Several studies have reported that water-related diseases impose a huge burden on public health in Pakistan. The major contaminants found in polluted water are microbes and heavy metals like arsenic and lead etc. Among various kinds of contaminants, bacteriological contamination causes the highest contribution towards the public health issue from water contamination.
These bacteria cause diseases like Diarrhea, Polio, Dysentery, Hepatitis A, Giardiasis, etc. According to UNICEF, seventy percent of households drink bacterially contaminated water and 53,000 children under age five die annually due to poor water and sanitation.
It is reported that water contamination is responsible for 30% of diseases and 40% of deaths in the last five years in Pakistan.
In 2008, National Standards for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) were published by Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency. They have been established following the guidelines and health-based targets mentioned by WHO. To study NSDWQ, visit the link given below.
About 70% of drinking water comes from aquifers, however cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi have also been using surface water. The quality of drinking water is determined by the quality of the water source, the level and treatment efficiency, and the condition of the water supply lines. The two main sources that contribute to water contamination are improper sewage management and disposal of toxins from industrial and agricultural sources. Textile and tanneries are contributing the most to industrial water pollution. Wastewater from industrial and municipal sources in Pakistan receives no or minimal water treatment due to underdeveloped water facilities.
Studies conducted across various districts of Punjab have found a higher concentration of heavy metals and microbial contamination above permissible limits. Arsenic was found above unsafe limits in the drinking water supply of Bahawalpur, Multan, Lahore, and Gujranwala, Lahore, and Sheikhupura. Kasur is one of the most polluted regions with 45% samples contaminated with microbes, 100% samples contaminated with arsenic, and very high TDS values.
In Rawalpindi and Islamabad, most of the samples were contaminated with E.coli bacteria. Faisalabad is an industrial city, with inadequate water treatment facilities. Wastewater is discharged into drains and has worse effects on groundwater quality too. In the urban areas of Faisalabad, the groundwater was heavily polluted with contamination from sewerage. Studies evaluating the drinking water quality in Faisalabad have found that physicochemical properties like turbidity, pH, TDS are within safe limits. However, the water was found to have high microbiological contamination from E. coli making it unfit for drinking purposes.
There is also a disparity in safe drinking water availability in rural and urban areas. About 70% of people living in rural areas in Pakistan do not have access to safe drinking water, hence the occurrence of diarrheal diseases is highest in Pakistan. A study conducted across villages found that water supply is contaminated with cattle dung and municipal waste due to poor drainage and waste dumping practices. This makes the water unfit for human consumption causing excess heavy metals like Pb, Mn, Fe, and higher values of EC, Cl, NO3-, SO42- above permissible limits.
Looking at the alarming rates of pollution in drinking water, it can be assumed that you might be drinking contaminated water unknowingly. Maybe you want someone to help you through the process and make sure that you and your community are drinking safe water? Are you worried about the health of your family, friends, and community? Are you drinking RO-treated water and worried about the mineral content of water? Then Earthly Perspective is here to take care of your drinking water problems! We care about your health and the health of your communities. We will guide you step by step to solve your drinking water problems for free from our experts! After getting the help, you are encouraged to help poor communities and help them to get safe drinking water .
- To save public health
- To create awareness about the significance of drinking clean water
- To help inculcate the sense of wisely choosing the right drinking water
- To educate people by one-to-one sessions for better understanding of the problem
Consultants from Earthly Perspective Magazine and PakVitae would be providing one to one session to help people select the right source of drinking water and to make sure that if the present drinking water is safe to drink.
4. Results of the Survey
The results of the survey conducted in this study was based on some general questions concerning about the choice of water by people. The collected data is represented by graphs as shown below:
The use of commercially available bottled water is quite common in people who are aware about the water contamination issues but not as common in public. So, it was asked by them weather they purchase the bottled water for drinking purpose or not? The response is shown in graph below.
Water from Filtration Plants
In some areas of Pakistan, filtrations plants are being installed commercially for the people to get safe and purified drinking water, so it was supposed to asked by the people that whether they use the service or not. Their response is shown in the graph below.
Water from RO Plant
Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane technology is used for water purification. In some developed areas, people install this technology as commercial filtration plants to sell water. So, the respondents were asked about this technology so that we can know that how many people are consuming demineralized water. The responses are shown in the pie chart.
Perception about the Quality of Drinking Water
It is the most important yet most neglected question when it is about the water we drink at our home. People are mostly careless of it when they get water from filtration plant. Hence, the people were asked about it and their responses are shown in graph below.
Presence of Color in Water
This is the follow-up question of the previous one. These questions were asked to know that whether people know about the presence of these constituents in their water or not?
Presence of Odor in Water
Concern about Drinking Water Quality
The following questions were then asked for their concerns and willingness to take consultancy to improve their drinking water quality. Their response was as follows .
Need for Free Consultancy
Authors: Anam Riaz and Rabia Nusrat
Rabia is an environmental engineer from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore and currently working in EveryWater as a graduate engineer trainee.
Anam is currently doing her master’s research on Urban Green Infrastructure and Environmental Justice at Lund University, Sweden.
Editors: Farah Maqsood and Alizah Memon
Farah is a research professional with a master’s focused in Water Sanitation and Health Sciences from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan.
Alizeh is a science enthusiast with a bachelor’s in physics and with over five years of experience in content writing, social media marketing, and project management.