Tag Archives: Pakistan

Drinking water quality in Pakistan

Daud MK, Nafees M, Ali S, Rizwan M, Bajwa RA, Shakoor MB, Arshad MU, Chatha SAS, Deeba F, Murad W, Malook I, Zhu SJ. Drinking Water Quality Status and Contamination in Pakistan. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:7908183. doi: 10.1155/2017/7908183.

Due to alarming increase in population and rapid industrialization, drinking water quality is being deteriorated day by day in Pakistan. This review sums up the outcomes of various research studies conducted for drinking water quality status of different areas of Pakistan by taking into account the physicochemical properties of drinking water as well as the presence of various pathogenic microorganisms. About 20% of the whole population of Pakistan has access to safe drinking water. The remaining 80% of population is forced to use unsafe drinking water due to the scarcity of safe and healthy drinking water sources. The primary source of contamination is sewerage (fecal) which is extensively discharged into drinking water system supplies. Secondary source of pollution is the disposal of toxic chemicals from industrial effluents, pesticides, and fertilizers from agriculture sources into the water bodies. Anthropogenic activities cause waterborne diseases that constitute about 80% of all diseases and are responsible for 33% of deaths. This review highlights the drinking water quality, contamination sources, sanitation situation, and effects of unsafe drinking water on humans. There is immediate need to take protective measures and treatment technologies to overcome unhygienic condition of drinking water supplies in different areas of Pakistan.

Human exposure to arsenic in household water, Pakistan

Rasheed H, Kay P, Slack R, Gong YY, Carter A. Human exposure assessment of different arsenic species in household water sources in a high risk arsenic area. The Science of the total environment. 2017 Jan 25. pii: S0048-9697(17)30098-0. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.089.

Understanding arsenic speciation in water is important for managing the potential health risks associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Most arsenic monitoring studies to date have only measured total arsenic, with few looking at arsenic species. This study assessed 228 ground water sources in six unstudied villages in Pakistan for total, inorganic and organic arsenic species using ion chromatography inductively coupled plasma collision reaction cell mass spectrometry. The concentration levels approached 3090μgL-1 (95% CI, 130.31, 253.06) for total arsenic with a median of 57.55μgL-1, 3430μgL-1 (median=52) for arsenate (As+5) and 100μgL-1 (median=0.37) for arsenite (As+3). Exceedance of the WHO provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water (10μgL-1) occurred in 89% of water sources. Arsenic was present mainly as arsenate (As+5). Average daily intake of total arsenic for 398 residents living in the sampled houses was found up to 236.51μgkg-1day-1. This exposure estimate has indicated that 63% of rural residents exceeded the World Health Organization’s provisional tolerable daily intake (PTDI) of 2.1μgkg-1day-1 body weight. Average daily intake of As+5 was found to be 15.63μgkg-1day-1 (95% CI, 5.53, 25.73) for children ≤16 and 15.07μgkg-1day-1 (95% CI, 10.33, 18.02) for adults. A mean daily intake of 0.09μgkg-1day-1 was determined for As+3 for children and 0.26μgkg-1day-1 for adults. Organic arsenic species such as monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and Arsenobetaine (AsB) were found to be below their method detection limits (MDLs).

Arsenic in Drinking Water; Punjab, Pakistan

Shakoor MB, Niazi NK, Bibi I, Rahman MM, Naidu R, Dong Z, Shahid M, Arshad M. Unraveling Health Risk and Speciation of Arsenic from Groundwater in Rural Areas of Punjab, Pakistan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 Oct 5;12(10):12371-90. doi: 10.3390/ijerph121012371.

This study determined the total and speciated arsenic (As) concentrations and other health-related water quality parameters for unraveling the health risk of As from drinking water to humans. Groundwater samples (n = 62) were collected from three previously unexplored rural areas (Chichawatni, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan) of Punjab in Pakistan. The mean and median As concentrations in groundwater were 37.9 and 12.7 µg·L(-1) (range = 1.5-201 µg·L(-1)). Fifty three percent groundwater samples showed higher As value than WHO safe limit of 10 µg·L(-1). Speciation of As in groundwater samples (n = 13) showed the presence of inorganic As only; arsenite (As(III)) constituted 13%-67% of total As and arsenate (As(V)) ranged from 33% to 100%. For As health risk assessment, the hazard quotient and cancer risk values were 11-18 and 46-600 times higher than the recommended values of US-EPA (i.e., 1.00 and 10(-6), respectively). In addition to As, various water quality parameters (e.g., electrical conductivity, Na, Ca, Cl(-), NO₃(-), SO₄(2-), Fe, Mn, Pb) also enhanced the health risk. The results show that consumption of As-contaminated groundwater poses an emerging health threat to the communities in the study area, and hence needs urgent remedial and management measures.

Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water; Bangladesh

Affan A, Khomavis HS, Al-Harbi SM, Haque M, Khan S. Effect of Environmental Factors on Cyanobacterial Abundance and Cyanotoxins Production in Natural and Drinking Water, Bangladesh. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 2015 Feb;18(2):50-8.

Cyanobacterial blooms commonly appear during the summer months in ponds, lakes and reservoirs in Bangladesh. In these areas, fish mortality, odorous water and fish and human skin irritation and eye inflammation have been reported. The influence of physicochemical factors on the occurrence of cyanobacteria and its toxin levels were evaluated in natural and drinking water in Bangladesh. A highly sensitive immunosorbent assay was used to detect microcystins (MCs). Cyanobacteria were found in 22 of 23 samples and the dominant species were Microcystis aeruginosa, followed by Microcystisflosaquae, Anabeana crassa and Aphanizomenon flosaquae. Cyanobacterial abundance varied from 39 to 1315 x 10(3) cells mL(-1) in natural water and 31 to 49 x 10(3) cells mL(-1) in tap water. MC concentrations were 25-82300 pg mL(-1) with the highest value measured in the fish research pond, followed by Ishakha Lake. In tap water, MC concentrations ranged from 30-32 pg mL(-1). The correlation between nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) concentration and cyanobacterial cell abundance was R2 = 0.62 while that between cyanobacterial abundance and MC concentration was R2 = 0.98. The increased NO3-N from fish feed, organic manure, poultry and dairy farm waste and fertilizer from agricultural land eutrophicated the water bodies and triggered cyanobacterial bloom formation. The increased amount of cyanobacteria produced MCs, subsequently reducing the water quality.

Fluoride in Drinking Water; Balochistan, Pakistan

Chandio TA, Khan MN, Sarwar A. Fluoride estimation and its correlation with other physicochemical parameters in drinking water of some areas of Balochistan, Pakistan. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 2015 Aug;187(8):4753. doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4753-6.

The fluoride level in drinking water is an important parameter and has to be controlled in order to prevent dental and skeletal fluorosis. The objective of this study is to assess fluoride content and other water quality parameters in the samples taken from open wells, tube wells, and karezes of Mastung, Mangochar, and Pringabad areas of Balochistan province. A total number of 96 >drinking water samples out of 150 were found unfit for human consumption. Area-wise analysis show that the samples from 39 sites from Mastung, 12 from Mangochar, and 13 from Pringabad were found in the risk of dental fluorosis of mild to severe nature. However, 12 sampling sites from Mastung, 8 from Mangochar, and 2 from Pringabad were identified as the risks of mottling and skeletal fluorosis or other bone abnormalities. The highest concentration of F(-) has been observed as 14 mg L(-1) in Mastung. Correlation analysis show that fluoride solubility in drinking water is pH dependent; and the salts of Ca(2+), Na(+), K(+), Cl(-), and SO4 (2-) contribute to attain the favorable pH for dissolution of fluoride compounds in drinking water. Principal component analysis shows that the geochemical composition of the rocks is only responsible for groundwater contamination. On the basis of the results, defloridation of the identified sampling sites and continuous monitoring of drinking water at regular basis is recommended at government level to avoid further fluorosis risks.

Disinfection By-Products in Pakistan Drinking Water

Abbas S, Hashmi I, Rehman MS, Qazi IA, Awan MA, Nasir H. Monitoring of chlorination disinfection by-products and their associated health risks in drinking water of Pakistan. Journal of Water and Health. 2015 Mar;13(1):270-84. doi: 10.2166/wh.2014.096.

This study reports the baseline data of chlorination disinfection by-products such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and their associated health risks in the water distribution network of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. THM monitoring was carried out at 30 different sampling sites across the twin cities for 6 months. The average concentration of total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and chloroform ranged between 575 and 595 μg/L which exceeded the permissible US (80 μg/L) and EU (100 μg/L) limits. Chloroform was one of the major contributors to the TTHMs concentration (>85%). The occurrence of THMs was found in the following order: chloroform, bromodichloromethane > dibromochloromethane > bromoform. Lifetime cancer risk assessment of THMs for both males and females was carried out using prediction models via different exposure routes (ingestion, inhalation, and dermal). Total lifetime cancer risk assessment for different exposure routes (ingestion, inhalation, and skin) was carried out. The highest cancer risk expected from THMs seems to be from the inhalation route followed by ingestion and dermal contacts. The average lifetime cancer risk for males and females was found to be 0.51 × 10(-3) and 1.22 × 10(-3), respectively. The expected number of cancer risks per year could reach two to three cases for each city.

Arsenic Exposure in Lahore District, Pakistan.

There are many pockets around the world where exposure to arsenic is still a significant problem. Unfortunately, biomarker studies such as this cannot distinguish between exposure to arsenic from food from exposure to arsenic from water.

Bibi M, Hashmi MZ, Malik RN. Human exposure to arsenic in groundwater from Lahore district, Pakistan. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Nov 1;39(1):42-52. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2014.10.020.

In the present study we determined As concentrations in healthy volunteers from three different age groups (children, adults and old age) residing in Lahore, Pakistan to gain insight into arsenic exposure to humans via drinking water. The results revealed that the concentrations of As were significantly (p<0.05) different among different sites, while non significant trends were observed among different age classes. As concentrations in blood and nails samples showed a significant (p<0.05) positive correlation. The mean concentrations of As were higher in nails samples (1.43μg/g) followed by blood samples (1.15μg/L); urine samples (0.82μg/l) and hair samples (0.74μg/g) based on all sites. The antioxidants enzyme activities in blood samples showed a significant (p<0.01) decrease with the increase in As concentrations. The result suggests that urgent action is needed to prevent further human exposure to As.