Environmental lawyers have moved a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking to end the discharge of untreated wastewater into the River Ravi.
The first hearing of the petition, filed by the Public Interest Litigation Association of Pakistan (PILAP) and the Pakistan Environmental Lawyers Association (PELA), will be held today (Thursday).
PELA Chairman Rafay Alam said that the dumping of pollutants in the river affected water and food quality and hence human health. He said the petition asked the court to direct the Punjab government, the Water and Sanitation Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate remedial action.
The petition states that untreated domestic and industrial waste is being dumped in the Ravi, resulting in a high level of impurities in the water. “It is calculated that nearly 48 percent of the overall pollution discharged into the River Indus comes from the River Ravi. At this point in time, the River Ravi is no more a river but a sludge carrier,” reads the petition.
It said that pollution had led to the extinction of 42 species of fish. It said that the wastewater discharged into the Ravi flowed to Bolloki headworks from where it ended up as irrigation water for crops in southern Punjab.
This, it said, had resulted in high rates of waterborne diseases in Pakistan. “UNICEF estimates that 20-40 percent of Pakistanis in hospitals today are there because of water borne disease,” reads the plea.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.