Lack of sanitation costs Pakistan 3.9% of GDP: Report

By PPI
Published: August 7, 2012
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Media Scrap Book dishes out information on Pakistan's sanitation conditions, which is said to be worse than others. PHOTO: FILE

Media Scrap Book dishes out information on Pakistan's sanitation conditions, which is said to be worse than others. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has the worst sanitary conditions in the South Asian region and its total economic impact amounts to a loss of Rs343.7 billion, which is equivalent to around 3.9% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), the Media Scrap Book reveals.

Media Scrap Book, collection of around 100 selected stories published in print and electronic media, compiled by the WashMedia-South Asia – a representative body of journalists from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka working on water, sanitation and hygiene.

The book was launched in Islamabad on Tuesday at the National Press club. It revealed that 52,000 children die annually due to diarrhea in Pakistan. It also reveals that in Pakistan, 14 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water and over 90 million are without improved sanitation. “40 million people – nearly one fourth of the total population – in Pakistan practice open defecation,” the book mentions.

Quoting data from various studies, the book points out that approximately 50 million people defecate in the open and an estimated 8 million people use shared toilets.

Pakistan, along with other South Asian nations, is facing a daunting challenge to provide safe drinking water and sanitation to its citizens. Around a billion people in the region don’t use improved sanitation facilities and 700 million practice open defecation compromising their dignity.

Despite such conditions and several high-level political commitments to reverse this situation, governments in South Asia have been unable to provide these fundamental services, the Media Scrap Book observed.

Members of WashMedia-South Asia, including Amar Guriro, Abid Qayyum Sulari, Shafqat Munir and Mustafa Talpu attended the book’s launching ceremony.

The WashMedia-South Asia comprises of 32 media members from all the five South Asian countries and is working for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector since January 2011. So far, the members of the regional group have reported more than 1000 stories on WASH issues.

The members of the regional group, through their stories, suggested that the single and most important developmental challenge in South Asia is to end the sanitation and hygiene crisis, something the concerned governments had acknowledged during the 4th South Asian Conference on Sanitation.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:12AM

    “Pakistan has the worst sanitary conditions in the South Asian region ………”

    “It also reveals that in Pakistan, 14 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water and over 90 million are without improved sanitation. “40 million people – nearly one fourth of the total population – in Pakistan practice open defecation,” the book mentions.”

    Everyday I read comments from Pakistanis criticizing conditions in India, such as sanitation, treatment of Muslims, etc. ET must be watching these comments and publishes reports on Pakistan on the same issues. It looks like that there is no need for Indians to reply to comments from Pakistanis and ET shall reply on behalf of all Indians with its reports.

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  • Usman
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:21AM

    What a joke; now the journalists will conduct scientific research, bravo, try to limit the sweeping statements in your articles guys

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  • Javed Afridi
    Aug 8, 2012 - 5:05AM

    BTW, 736 million (71.7%) people out of total population of 1027 million lack basic sanitation facilities. According to a UNICEF report early this year, 638 million people (54%) defecate in the open in India.

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  • Supersequel
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:20AM

    What et forgets to mention is the progress made in the decade and India has far worse sanitation conditions: look at UNDP data. But it’s a face I’m not proud of. I rather have Pakistan compete with other more developed nations than simply India.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 6:49AM

    Pakistan has a long way to go to fix its sanitation problems but it’s certainly nt the worst in South Asian region.

    India will not reach its Millennium Development Goal on sanitation before 2047, while Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal will not achieve the target before 2028, according to a United Nations report released on World Toilet Day last year.

    The WaterAid report titled “Off-track, off-target: Why investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is not reaching those who need it most” says that 818 million Indians and 98 million Pakistanis lack access to toilets. It also reports that 148 million Indians and 18 million Pakistanis do not have adequate access to safe drinking water.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/11/india-pakistan-off-track-off-target-on.html

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  • Zakim Singh
    Aug 8, 2012 - 8:26AM

    @ Javed Afridi

    Pakistan is worse off. improve your country.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 9:08AM

    Pakistan has a long way to go to fix its sanitation problems but it’s certainly not the worst in South Asian region.

    India will not reach its Millennium Development Goal on sanitation before 2047, while Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal will not achieve the target before 2028, according to a United Nations report released on World Toilet Day last year.

    The WaterAid report titled “Off-track, off-target: Why investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is not reaching those who need it most” says that 818 million Indians and 98 million Pakistanis lack access to toilets. It also reports that 148 million Indians and 18 million Pakistanis do not have adequate access to safe drinking water.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/11/india-pakistan-off-track-off-target-on.html

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  • Zalim Singh
    Aug 8, 2012 - 11:36AM

    @ Riaz Haq

    pl read the article again.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 11:43AM

    @Zakim Singh: LOl what’s with you Sikhs always taking either the side of India or trying to break away from it. Many of you Sikhs still want Khalistan, yet others never miss an opportunity to take pot shots at Pakistan and Islam. Forgive me but you Sikhs are a confused lot and to a degree amusing. Your insecurity shows it all.

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  • Asif Sahibzada
    Oct 5, 2012 - 12:21PM

    I absolutely agree with this statement that almost all the poor sigment of Pakistani society are not having the sanitation facilities. Besides, those enjoying it are also not quality sanitation resulting in a number of health and allied issues in the local communes. In the present circumsatnces one can say that we are free from open defiication, but the real issue is with end of pipe sanitation issues. The sewage or sewrage coming out of any locality either flow freely in the open or darined into water bodies resulting in contaminating it. Secondly, the environs are polluted at large. When the local govt. systm was inrtoduced during 2000, any concerned citizen was happy that such problems would have been solved locally. But sorry to say that nothing happened despite heavy funding to TMAs, Distt. Govts., evn the union councils. Realistically, the Local Govt. system aimed to solve local issue locally, but no treatment facility(s) had so far been estalished or if there ar any i.e. at big cities, those are not functional or those are dismentlled for want of commercial land.

    This is not time to go again and agin into theritica thinking, but its more be prudent to initiate pragmatics, every one knows that sewrage water is poison, how that poison could be made safe for other than drinking purposes i.e recycling in the industry, gardning, agriculture, are some tiny examples which needs consideration of the civic agencies. Belive it or not if such simple techniques are applied at local level, things will improve gradullay,,,,,,,

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