Tharparkar Needs Portable Water Plant Urgently
OF all the 23 districts of Sindh, Tharparkar is known to have the lowest Human Development Index.
With a population of 1.3 million, it is spread over an area of about 20,000 sq. km and constitutes a major part of the Thar Desert.The World Food Programme agency has termed Tharparkar the most food-insecure area where 72.40 per cent of the people are poor and categorised as the second-most poverty-stricken district, and fourth lowest district of the country as ranked in the Human Development Index.During research in Tharparkar it was found that while the normal fluoride level in water is supposed to be 1ppm, in many locations it is as high as 13ppm, making it unfit for human consumption.Another study, titled ‘Underground water quality of Thar: a detailed analysis 2014-2018’, conducted by a local NGO, showed that more than 50 per cent of the population using water with total dissolved solvents of over 5,000mg per litre (mg/l) found over 80 per cent of groundwater in the district is unhealthy for human consumption.
Umerkot district, Chachro and Mithi talukas are severely affected by fluoride contamination. For this, deeper wells are a possible solution.
People lack resources for digging and maintaining these installations. The marginalised sections of society suffer the most. Poverty and malnutrition compound problems. In many families, women and girls fetch water for the family every day from a communal source that is located far away. This takes hours, depriving them of a profitable working time or education. Constant lifting and carrying of heavy water pots cause health problems, particularly among pregnant women. The main crops grown in the area are millet, ‘moong’ pulse, bulgur wheat, chili and oilseed. These plants can tolerate dry conditions. However, during severe drought the yield of even these crops falls drastically.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce. Successive years of low rainfall have led to scarcity of food and poverty. Severe drought-like conditions, decrease in water level in wells and increase in salt concentration are endangering the lives of the people of Thar. In the absence of public water supply, people are compelled to use groundwater which is high in fluoride. Fluoride causes dental and skeletal fluorosis, osteosclerosis, thyroid and kidney problems when its concentration exceeds 6litr/1 in drinking water, and the intake of excessive fluoride leads to chronic bone and joint deformations. Healthcare is a major issue in Thar. Women are burdened because of this situation as they are the ones who have to fetch water from far-flung areas.
The government must consider more projects for villages. It should provide treatment plants, keeping in view the requirement of villages based on the size of the population. The majority of people having low income are not able to afford transport and hospital expenses to save the lives of their loved ones who fall ill due to waterborne diseases. The situation in the Thar region is alarming and requires the government to immediately take remedial measures, including better rainwater harvesting, development of sweet groundwater, and installation of de-fluoridation and desalination plants.
No potable water in Thar, Sindh is a village and almost 40,000 people are deprived of access to clean drinking water. Owing to the lack of access to clean drinking water, people, especially children, are suffering from many diseases. The government should provide clean drinking water to its people. Most of the water sources are contaminated and there is no proper mechanism for the poor people to get clean drinking water. The Sindh government and the authorities concerned should take an initiative to provide clean drinking water to the people of Thar, Sindh.
Mr Aijaz Ahmed Mughal
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Distributing emergency relief; food and medical aid, to the most needy.
Providing clean portable water by installing hand pumps and motorised pumps in the most needy areas.
Sponsoring orphans and widows and ensuring their rights are fulfilled.
Reconstructing and maintaining homes, masjids, orphanages and schools.
Establishing medical and rehabilitation clinics, especially for the treatment of women and children.
Implementing income generation projects to help people break dependence on hand-outs.
Assisting existing education establishments and financially supporting the building of new ones.
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