LUMHS study on contaminated water was conducted in five locations. PHOTO: FILE
This was revealed in a study conducted by the Water Testing and Surveillance Laboratory at the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) at Jamshoro. the department of community medicine’s chairman, Prof Dr Hussain Bux Kolachi, and his team collected water samples from five different locations, including a Basic Health Unit (BHU) and four residential units from union council Hatri in Hyderabad rural taluka.
The team analysed the samples for turbidity, temperature, odour, conductivity, salinity, total dissolved solids (TDS) and acidity (pH). the results showed yellowish and muddy colours in three of the samples. This meant the presence of 39 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) – which refers to the quantity of suspended solids in water – against the WHO standard of only five NTU. Conductivity and salinity levels were much higher than the WHO limits of 3.41 and 10.6 millisiemens, respectively, in another sample.
The presence of TDS in drinking water was found to be alarmingly high at 2,440 to 7,270 mg/l against the WHO’s benchmark of 500 to 1,000 mg/l. the acidity level, pH, was measured at 6.7 to 7.4.
Dr Kolachi told the Express Tribune that the samples showed that the population of that area was at risk of catching several diseases. “Skin allergies, boils, pyoderma, hepatitis A and E, typhoid and diarrhoea are the most likely ones,” he said.
Suggesting ways to improve drinking water quality, Dr Kolachi suggested that the increased discharge of water would dilute the TDS component. “Or the area could go for an alternate source of water to prevent the spread of diseases,” he added.
Referring to the population of the sample area, he said that, “Basically, a BHU is set up for a population of between 10,000 and 25,000 but for this area, which is spread over five kilometres, I believe the number is more than 30,000 people”.
According to Dr Kolachi, waterborne diseases are becoming a major cause of sickness and hospitalisation, especially in the rural areas of Sindh.
The water quality testing team was also assisted by Water and Testing Surveillance Laboratory director Dr Muhammad Saleem Memon.
Published in the Express Tribune, April 5th, 2011.
<a href="http://tribune.com.pk/story/142829/30000-people-at-risk-of-hepatitis-typhoid/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://tribune.com.pk/story/142829/30000-people-at-risk-of-hepatitis-typhoid/Mon, 04 Apr 2011 21:42:44 GMT 00:00″>‘30,000 people at risk of hepatitis, typhoid’ – The Express Tribune
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