SUKKUR: Residents of Sukkur have been receiving highly polluted river water supplied to them by the North Sindh Urban Services Corporation (NSUSC) for quite some time from the Indus.

The pollution in river water is on a steady rise because of unabated release of industrial and domestic waste into the river and use of hazardous chemicals by fishermen to maximize their catch.

The poisonous chemicals thrown on the river’s surface during annual closure days has raised toxic levels in the water and harmed growth of fish, especially rare blind dolphins, besides rendering the water highly dangerous for humans.

In the wake of growing complaints about supply of contaminated water, the NSUSC sent samples of river water to public and private laboratories for examination.

A microbiologist working for a mineral water company based in Sukkur which was also sent the samples declared in his report that the water being supplied to town residents for drinking was highly dangerous for human health.

He said the examination of samples showed the water was 90 per cent dangerous for human health and could spread different diseases like diarrhea, skin, hepatitis, kidneys, abdomen and other problems.

After receiving the report, the managing director of NSUSC Pervez Ahmed Seehar sent it to high officers of irrigation and fisheries departments and urged them to stop the fishermen from using dangerous chemicals to catch fish.

Sources in the irrigation department said the fisheries department was awarding contracts of fishing in the river without keeping a check on the use of chemicals.

Sukkur Deputy Commissioner Shahzad Tahir Thaheem has also taken notice of supply of unclean water to residents of Sukkur, Rohri and adjoining localities and expressed anger over use of chemicals by fishermen, according to an official handout issued on Monday.

The DC directed the authorities concerned to take immediate action against the fishermen involved in the harmful practice and also directed managing director of the NSUSC and other officials concerned to immediately make arrangements to supply clean dirking water to townspeople.

He also directed the authorities concerned to get the samples of drinking water examined at authentic laboratories and take steps on a war footing to purify the water.

Lack of communication between different departments, including irrigation, wildlife, fisheries as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, was also adding to the rise in water pollution.

Meanwhile, a large number of residents of Sukkur led by Naseer Gopang of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Safdar Mirani and Sanaullah Mahar of Jeay Sindh Mahaz and Ashfaq Bhatti of Peace Movement staged a demonstration in protest against failure of the NSUSC in providing them civic services.

Shehri Ittehad also took out a rally and staged a token funeral prayer of different departments in Microwave Colony. Ubedullah Bhutto and others who led the protest said the NSUSC was being inimical to people by providing them poisonous water.

They urged public representatives to take notice of the supply of unhygienic water and take necessary steps to save residents from waterborne diseases.