Dirty water for people of Lahore is a big threat to their health

saddia Mazhar

Water pollution issues in Lahore are not limited to the areas that get the water supply from WASA. When tested water samples from Charar, which DHA surrounds, & they get their supply from Lahore Cantonment Board. 𝟏𝟎𝟎% of these samples were severely contaminated with fecal bacteria. Nosheen Zaidi share her research on tweeter.

We found that the water was heavily contaminated with lead in the areas close to Lahore’s industrial zones. The government of Punjab’s permissible limit for lead in drinking water is 50μg/L, while the lead level in the govt water supply in these areas’ ranges b/w 150-1550μg/L.

Among all toxins, lead is the supervillain. Children are especially susceptible to the toxic effects of lead, & it causes irreversible damage to their developing brains. CDC’s blood lead reference value is 3.5µg/dL. The average lead level in the samples from Shadipura is 16µg/dL.

We  presented this data to all the stakeholders, including WASA. As per their reports, the water in these areas was totally clean, and the lead level was 0µg/dL. We were asked to get our samples tested from PCSIR or any ISO-certified lab.

Then we decided to spike the water samples with high levels of lead before sending them for testing. We added 1000 or 1500 µg/dL of lead to bottled water and sent the samples to PCSIR.

Guess what? The result was still the same. LEAD NOT DETECTED! I am not sure what’s going on. I can only assume that their method is not optimized. Now, we are sending our samples to Germany for confirmation.

The situation in other poor urban neighborhoods is also devastating. For instance, 40% of the water samples (government water supply) from Chungi Ammar Sidhu contained fecal bacteria, indicating sewage contamination.

Low-income communities in Lahore lack access to clean water. Such inequalities in clean water access are causing a humanitarian crisis, and we demand swift action!


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