RAWALPINDI: Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-EPA) has asked Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Rawalpindi Municipal Waste Company and six town municipal administrations in the district to ensure a functional sewerage system, supply of potable water and proper disposal of solid waste.

District Officer Environment Muhammad Nawaz told Dawn that the Punjab-EPA had found water, in many areas of Rawalpindi, unfit for consumption.

After September rains and flood in Leh Nullah, the Punjab government asked Punjab-EPA to take samples from different areas of the city to assess quality of water being supplied through pipelines.

Laboratory tests on water samples from 169 areas revealed that 57 localities had contamination of sewage in water supply.

According to the report, water tested at the filtration plant at Rawal Dam, from where much of the water originates, has zero bacteria, which means contaminants enter water supply on their way to the consumers.

Areas where water was declared unfit for consumption include Javed Colony, Chamanzar Colony, Murree Road, Dhoke Hassu, Dhoke Mangtal, Dhoke Ratta, Pirwadhai, Dhoke Dalal, Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Soan Christian Colony, Chontra village.

District Officer Environment said the Punjab-EPA asked the local administration to develop proper landfill sites to dispose of solid waste.

“Garbage is not collected properly in the city and most people dump solid waste in Leh Nullah which creates environmental problems,” he said.

He added that most government and private hospitals were not separating infectious medical waste from other waste and dumping it irresponsibly.

“Punjab-EPA issued advisory to seven hospitals in Rawalpindi directing them to make arrangements for proper disposal of hazardous medical waste,” the officer said.

“In the first phase, the environment watch dog has issued the advisory and asked civic bodies and hospitals to share their plans as soon as possible. In the next phase, their cases would be sent to the environmental tribunal,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 24th , 2014