Initially, it was the air but now the river flowing through Punjab’s capital, Ravi, has been found to be the world’s most polluted, having active pharmaceutical constituents posing a ‘threat to the environment and human health’.
A study conducted at the University of York published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US discovered pharmaceutical particles like nicotine, paracetamol, caffeine, and epilepsy along with diabetes drugs in the river.
The findings of the study placed waterways in Lahore, Bolivia, and Ethiopia among the most contaminated while rivers in Norway, Iceland, and the Amazon rainforest fared the best.
Environmentalist Afia Salam while depicting concern over the most recent outcomes about river pollution, said the River Ravi had been transformed into a drain containing human and industrial wastes. “We have laws about dumping wastewater and industrial wastage but no law is being implemented in the country,” she said.
“Also the current government is planning to build a city on the river basin [Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project] and it would also increase pollution,” she regretted.
In addition, Afia Salam said, India was also making difficulties for the Ravi by diverting the Hudiyara drain towards River Ravi.
Meanwhile, Lahore Conservation Society Information Secretary Dr. Ajaz Anwar said that under the Indus Water Treaty, India had halted pure water and had thrown wastewater in the Ravi. “We also have diverted untreated wastewater into the river besides dumping waste in and around the basin of the river,” he added.
Mentioning the government plans to construct a new city, Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project, Dr. Anwar said he was looking forward to launching a protest drive against the move. “How could you build a city on agricultural land? And it would also disturb the water level of Lahore city,” he added.
While on the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan informed about the Ravi Riverfront project that it would turn around the economy and profit at least 40 industries, offer a number of jobs, and bring in much-needed foreign exchange. “Around $1.5 billion foreign investment has already reached Pakistan for this project,” he said.