FAISALABAD - With per capita availability of only 1,000 cubic metre of water, Pakistan is slipping below the water scarcity level as in 1947 it was 5,000 cubic metre, posing a threat to the life and agriculture, disclosed the vice chancellor of a university during a workshop on Saturday.

Government College University Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Zakir Hussain was presiding over the concluding session of a two-day workshop titled 'Water Pollution and its Mitigation'. The workshop was arranged by GCUF's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries under a project titled INSPIRE being run by GCUF and Newcastle University, UK in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission and British Council.

Faculty of Science and Technology Dean Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi, Dr Abdul Shakoor from Newcastle University, UK, Dr Abdul Jabbar from Brunel University, from British Council Saira Pervez, Dr Alan Younger, the Head School of Agriculture, UK and Pakistan Coordinator for INSPIRE Dr Farhat Jabeen also spoke on the occasion.

The VC said that the country was losing water equivalent to five Tarbela dams by dumping it back to sea, and added it was need of hour to build new dams to improve the water situation. Dr Zakir said that pollution of the water is not only posing a threat to human life but also provoking a sharp decline in the sea life. He demanded establishing a Ground Water Authority to address the issue and devise a comprehensive plan in this regard.  He said that pumping out of huge groundwater had caused a reduction of the water of many feet.

He urged stakeholders to build a comprehensive strategy in a bid to put an end to water pollution. He said untreated waste water, industrial effluent and agricultural run-off is poisoning our water and people.

He also said 92 of wastewater remained untreated and discharged into water resources across the country breaking out various fatal water-borne diseases responsible for 40 percent of human deaths.

Dr Naureen Aziz said the water quality situation in Pakistan was an environmental catastrophe. She added that maximum numbers of deaths in Asia were occurring because of water and air pollution. She said that three Es including education, environment and economic are interlink to compete with the world. She expressed her concern that as many as 1.2 billion of people all over the globe do not have access to potable water. Six million children are losing their lives due to water and air pollutions worldwide.

British Council representative Saira Pervez stressed bringing the research to the ground to get benefit of it. The research only in journal cannot produce fruits. It must be taken into action, she added. 

Dr Abdul Shakoor called for active involvement of all stakeholders to tackle the ever increasing problems of water pollution disturbing people and quality of fish meat. He also stressed the need to enhance role of the community in this regard. Dr Abdul Jabbar educated the audience about the biological techniques to redress the pollution and provide a polluted free atmosphere for the human and sea life. He said the water is a prerequisite for life. Dr Farhat Habeen said that the INSPIRE project was aimed at capability building of farmers; water and soil analysis; to protect the health and environment.