GILGIT: Gilgit is the land of glaciers and fresh water reservoirs but that is only true on top of K-2. In Gilgit or Skardu, the drinking water, even that from the pricey water filtration plants installed by the previous government, is contaminated – often with animal limbs and chicken feathers.
Interviews conducted by The Express Tribune reveal that these filtration plants are in terrible condition and are ignored by those responsible for taking care of them.
According to sources, that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had recently tested about two dozen water filtration plants in Gilgit and found that the water they supply is unfit for human consumption.
These findings were submitted to the relevant department, only to be a report among others.
Requesting anonymity, an official said that the two water reservoirs at Jutial and Barmas, from where water is supplied to the entire Gilgit, were in deplorable condition as far as cleanliness is concerned. “You can see dung and dead animals all around these water tanks,” he said, adding that despite efforts to make officials take notice of this issue, no action has ever been taken.
An expert, currently doing his PhD in water and environment health revealed, on condition of anonymity, that the chief secretary had issued a notification of a ‘water quality surveillance committee’ in 2006 to check the quality of water being supplied to the city. The committee has never held a single meeting in the past four years despite several requests sent to them. The committee comprised the local government secretary, local government director, health director, education director and the EPA.
He said that setting up these filtration plants in Gilgit had not been a good idea at all. The plants were now choked with the residue from water that they are meant to filter and have not been cleaned. “The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) is neither interested nor does it have an effective mechanism to deal with such a situation,” he said.
A resident of Gilgit Tufail Ahmed approached The Express Tribune on Monday to complain that he could not use tap water at his home in Kashrote. “It is extremely polluted,” he said. When he goes to fetch water from filtration plants, they are more often than not locked and no caretaker is around to open it. “It seldom happens that I succeed in getting water from the plant as, most of the time, it is closed,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ