FAISALABAD - Industrial effluent has been polluting groundwater resulting in the outbreak of various diseases and environmental pollution, experts said during a seminar on Thursday.

In addition, the crops and vegetables being cultivated with the water also cause serious health hazards, they said at the international seminar titled “water footprint of cotton value chain” jointly arranged by US-Pak Centre for Advanced Studies for Agriculture and Food Security and Faculty of Agri Engineering and Technology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Dr Franck Andreas Weber from Aachen University Germany said that nitrate pollution for the groundwater was the largest challenge in Germany. He said that the stepped up efforts are needed to address the issue of the increasing pollution. He said that Pakistan-Germany enhanced ties in academic and research would help address the issue.

He said that water shortage was the problem of the whole world and it can pose a threat to food security.

Dr Bernhard Tischbein from Bonn University Germany said that rivers are also being polluted due to the effluent of industries. He said that the collaborated efforts and interdisciplinary approaches are vital to fight the issue and to provide healthy environment for the people.

UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad stressed a need to step up efforts to control effect of chemical waters released by industry. He said that industry is polluting groundwater which is harmful for agriculture and living things. They urged the experts, scientist and policymakers to play their effective role to fight the challenge of pollution.

He viewed that one of the major socioeconomic challenges was mismanagement of water resources. He said that there is no life without water as it is a must food security, economic growth, energy production, industries and human health. He said time is ripe for promoting the rational use of water across the country to save the new generation. He added, “We are not treating industrial waste which causes deteriorating situation. He said that heavy water was being pumped out from tube wells.

Talking about water efficient crops, he added, “We need to promote less water intensive crops in view of water shortage in the country. Water reserves have been shrank from 5,000 cusec meter to 850 cusec meter.

Dean Faculty of Agri Engineering Dr Allah Buksh said that industrial effluent treatment was essential to provide the healthy environment for the citizens. He stressed a need to expedite the joint efforts for the cause. He said that it is the need of the hour to treat the industrial and waste water. He said that the climate changes are posing the serious threat to the people and the country.

Dr Christopher Conrad said the industrial effluent was posing a serious threat if tangible steps are not taken. Dr Christian Grim and Dr Usman also spoke.