GILGIT: The residents of the Gilgit town have been consuming contaminated drinking water for years.

According to a letter written by Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency (GBEPA) director Shahzad Shigri to the secretary home, drinking water being supplied to inhabitants of Gilgit city from Burmas and Jutial water supply complexes, domestic water taps in different locations and community water taps were heavily contaminated.

The level of turbidity and bacteria increases with high temperature in summer season, thus making water not fit for human consumption and thus responsible for spreading water-borne diseases, it said.

The letter said nine samples of water taken from two locations in Gilgit city were declared unfit for human consumption.

The results of water quality test corresponded to the spread of typhoid.

It said that typhoid coupled with Covid-19 had worsened the situation in the virus hotspot of Gilgit city.

It requested the authorities to take necessary measures to treat the water and make it fit for human consumption up to level of National Standards for Drinking Water Quality in order to avert risk of further spread of typhoid in the town.

An official of the environmental protection agency on condition of anonymity told Dawn that 90 per cent population of Gilgit town consumed contaminated water as there was no system to treat it in the complexes.

He pointed out that water filtration plants installed at various areas had become outdated and their maintenance was not possible.

The underground water lines have also become outdated, he said, adding people in the Gilgit town were compelled to drink highly contaminated water.

The official said contaminated water caused typhoid, Hepatitis-A and other water-borne diseases. He said the diseases weakened the human immune system. The official said that the issue had been brought into the notice of the authorities, but to no avail.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2020