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Groundwater and nutritional health challenges- A case study from Indus river system in Pakistan


Journal of Nutritional Health & Food Engineering
Ghulam Zakir-Hassan,1,2 Ghulam Shabir,1 Saleem Akhtar,1 Haroon Rafique,1 Muhammad Ali Hassan Khan,3

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Abstract

Groundwater plays an important role in supporting the humanity by providing the basic needs of food, fiber and shelter and underpinning the livelihood especially in rural areas in Pakistan. Land and water and air are the essential natural resources to support the food security and human health. Groundwater plays important role in nutritional health as it supports about 100% drinking water requirements in Pakistan. Quality deterioration of groundwater is a big challenge in Indus Basin in Pakistan. Both natural and anthropogenic sources are creating threats for the quality of groundwater. Domestic, agricultural and industrial effluents are sources of pollution of groundwater resources. More than 80% diseases are the waterborne. Unsafe drinking water is a source of many diseases including typhoid, intestinal worms, and hepatitis etc. Globally 780 million and in Pakistan 100 million people are exposed to unsafe water. Groundwater is a major player in nutrition value addition and ensuring food-security. Punjab province of Pakistan is major user of groundwater (more than 80% extraction), where groundwater contamination is posing severe health problems. Over extraction of groundwater is resulting in mixing of fresh-brackish groundwater layers. Use of wastewater in peripheries of the urban cities by the irrigators for growing vegetables is also a major concern for human health.1 Groundwater management, protection of its quality by putting in and implementation in true sense leading to sustainable use of groundwater can yield positive results for health and nutrition.

Keywords

ground water, human-health, nutrition, Punjab, Indus-river-basin, Pakistan

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