Environmental Pollution in Sindh, Pakistan

By Mrs. Farzana Panhwar
September 2004

The Author is President of the Sindh Rural Women´s Up-lift Group in Hyderabad, Sindh - Pakistan. She also manages the Panhwar Fruit Farm, where some 25 new fruit crops have been successfully introduced to Sindh. → See also:



Pakistan lies between longitudes of 60-70° East and latitudes 20°N and 37°N. It is located in the north-western sector of the Indo-Pakistan, sub-continent. On its north it has boundary with from USSR and now Central Asian State and china, West is Afghanistan and Iran. In the South-west is the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. On the south and south-east connected with India. On north-east and east has Jammu and Kashmir States.

The population of Pakistan in the year 2003 was 149.1 millions. Projected population in the year 2025 will be 249.7 millions and by the year 2050 it will be 348.6 million. It cover and area of 307.375 square miles, while contains 485 population per square miles. (Ref. A)   In the year 2000 Pakistan population was 137.8 millions, it increases at the rate of 2.8%. Its projected population by the year 2025 will be 249.7 millions. Its annual Renewable fresh water available per capita for the year 1990 was 3,838 cubic meters, while for the year 2025 it will be 1,643 cubic meters. While 745 population from the year 1990-95 having access to safe water. For the same period only 47% population was having adequate sanitation. The cropland available per capita in the year 1990 was 0.17 hectares, which in the year 2025 will be 0.07 hectares. In the year 1992 the CO² emissions per capita was 0.6 metric tonnes. (Ref. B)

In the year 2003-2004 the actual shortage of river and canal water in Sindh has resulted in drop down of aquifers from 15 feet to 50 feet. According to government of Sindh estimates around 1.4 million people and more than 5.6 million livestock head have been adversely affected due to drought condition, harsh climate and pollution caused by above conditions.
In the year 1998, the extent of water-logging and salinity at the depth of 0-5 feet or 152 cm water table depth in Sindh was 3796,000 hectares, while its depth in Pakistan total was 4942,000 hectares, but water table at 0-10 feet or 305 cm water table depth for the same year total in Pakistan was 9120 hectares out of which in Sindh it was 5198,000 hectares. (Ref. C)

In the year 1998 the extent of saline/soidic soil total land in Pakistan was 6173.5 hectares out of which Sindh has 2109,600 hectares. For the same year this saline/soidic land in Pakistan, 2803,800 hectares were under cultivation in which Sindh has 1151.0 hectares, under cultivation and in Pakistan saline/sodic soils 3369.,700hectares were uncultivated in Sindh it was 958,600 hectares. (Ref. D)
In the year 1997-98, in Pakistan the total area under afforestation was 21,400 hectares out of which Sindh have 2,800 hectares. (Ref. D)

Globally, 2.3 billion people suffer from diseases linked to water. These diseases cause an estimated 12 million deaths a year, 5 million of them from diarrhoea diseases. Only half of South East Asia´s 550 million people have access to safe drinking water.
Each year more than 10,000 people in Karachi die of kidney aliments due to polluted water.
An average 30,000 to 35,000 cases of water borne diseases are hospitalised every year in Lahore. The majority of these can be attributed to polluted water.

A study by the National heath Laboratories in Rawalpindi/Islamabad showed that 81% of untreated water and 38% of treated water samples contain coliforms. About 76% of Islamabad water and 82% of Rawalpindi water contains lead. It was also concluded in the same report that 80% of the diseases in the area are due to polluted water. (Ref. J)
Pakistan contains pollutants, which are mostly developed as a result of urbanisation, modernisation, industrialisation, and due to the results of human activities. Most of them are non-bio-degradable, which cause negative impact on the environment. When these pollutants come into the environment, they bring irreversible damage to the natural resources and ecosystem.

Definition of Pollution

Pollution may be define as the introduction by man in to the environment of substances or energy liable to cause hazards to human health, harm to living resources and ecological system, damage to structure or amenity, or interference with legitimate use of the environment.

The important concepts in this definition are:

  1. Pollution is caused by substances or energy.
  2. It has a source or sources, and they are created by man, Natural inputs of the same substances are excluded. Thus pollution is an increment added by man to bio-geo-chemcial cycles.
  3. Pollution acts in the environment, as a result of these discharges, and follows a pathway, leading to the exposure of structure or organism.
  4. The significance of the pollution is related to its effects on a range of targets (or receptors), including man and the resources and ecological system on which depends.
  5. Pollution is judged by its impact on social values as well as environmental components, if these is damage to structure or amenity, or interference with legitimate uses of the environment, the substances causing the effect are by definition, pollutant, (For this reason, bulky debris liable to foul fishing gear comes within the scope of the black list of materials that may not be dumped at sea under the Oslo convention).
  6. Quantification of the scale of the hazard or damage or interference is important, and he basic question is one of acceptability of the consequences of the release of the substances or energy. (Ref. F)

Definition of Pollution through other Angles

Substances called pollutant if under normal circumstances showing these effects:

  1. Even at low concentration show significant biological effects.
  2. Diffuse readily in air and water, having tendency to accumulate in living tissues.
  3. Persistent in nature.
  4. In breakdown an combination product, showing persistence in toxicity, but their accumulation in targets equal or exceeds that of original material.
  5. Effects on wide range of organisms, are important to man or central to the stability off global ecological systems.

Effects of Pollutants

  1. Short- and long-term toxicity (which may also demand assessment of its biochemcial reactivity, and the precise way, in which it operates).
  2. Persistence (and the ways and rates of its breakdown by both physical and biological means).
  3. Dispersion properties.
  4. Chemical reactions and breakdown of interaction products (which in turn may need screening for the other properties).
  5. Tendency to bio-accumulation.
  6. Ease of control.

Classification of Pollutants

Pollutants have various alternative systems for their classification. These are explained under:

Classification by Nature

Classification by Properties

  1. Solubility in water, oil, fat
  2. Rates of dispersion and dilution
  3. Biodegradability
  4. Persistence in air, water, soil or living organisms
  5. Reactivity with other substances

Classification by Sectors of Environment

  1. Air pollutants
  2. Fresh-water pollutants
  3. Marine pollutants
  4. Soil or land pollutants

Classification by Sources

  1. Products of fuel combustion
  2. Domestic sources
  3. Industrial sources
  4. Agricultural and forest sources
  5. Vehicular sources
  6. Products of industrial origin

Classification by Patterns of Use

  1. Use in Industry
    • Raw materials
    • Construction materials (including protective materials such as paints)
    • Solvents
    • Catalysts
    • Plasticiser
    • Stabilisers
    • Preservatives
    • Coolants
    • Lubricants
    • Detergents
    • Transmission fluids
    • Insulation materials 9 fire and electrical insulation)
    • Pesticides etc. (the list may need adjustment from industry to industry)
    • Use in the home or in hospitals, schools, hotels etc.
  2. Solvents
    • Coolants (refrigerants)
    • Food additives and preservatives (including colouring matter)
    • Pesticides
    • Detergents
    • Insulation materials
    • Construction materials (including paints etc) (there is an inevitable overlap with the industrial list)
  3. Use in Agriculture and Horticulture, and by Local Authorities e.g. in pavement or swimming pool maintenance
    • Fertilisers
    • Pesticides.
    • Sterilants etc. (within buildings and in connection with equipment there is inevitably overlap with the two preceding)
  4. Use in Transport
    • Fuels
    • Lubricants
    • Vehicles construction materials including transmission fluids
    • Maintenance materials (including cleaning materials, anti-fouling and other paints etc)
  5. Uses in Defence

Classification by Target and Effects

Pollutants also Classified as a Source of Primary Pollutants

  1. Natural-volcanoes, pollens, terpenes and braking Seas
  2. Man accentuated blowing dust, fire, bacteria and viruses
  3. Man-made combustion process, chemical process, nuclear or atomic processes, roasting, heating and refining process, mining, quarrying and farming

In this research paper, the writer only discuses the pollution classification by environmental sector only, because environmental pollution is a very vast subject. In this paper, the writer tried to mention each and every aspect of environmental sector only.

Pollutant Classification by Sector of Environment

Air Pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

In Sindh and Pakistan the major air pollution is caused by fuel combustion in a primary gases states like: Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, un-burned hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and Aldehydes. While there reaction caused forming secondary derivatives in form of Peroxy acetyl nitrates, oxides of nitrogen form ozone and sulphur dioxide brings acid rains, and particulate in gases form like: smoke, grit and dust, lead particles. The air pollutants in Sindh and Pakistan come from the following sectors:

  1. Industrial pollutant - SO², CO², CO, hydrogen sulphide, chlorine, nitrous oxide, arsenic, ozone, metal particles and gases
  2. Domestic pollutants - Fossil fuel burnt by man
  3. Automobile exhaust - carbon monoxide
  4. Radiation - nitrogen oxides
  5. Miscellaneous other sources of air pollution are: petero-chemicals, fertilisers, synthetic fibres, metallurgy, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, pharmaceutical industries and ceramic industries

Air Pollution Situation Nationally and Globally

  1. The earth´s atmosphere in an un-polluted state is composed of 78% stable nitrogen N², 21% oxygen O², less than 1% Orgon an other inert gases, more than 0.03% (325 ppm), carbon dioxide CO², 0.01-0.05 ppm ozone O², small but transitory amounts of biologically active substances like carbon mono-oxide CO and CH4, CO and CH4 concentration should be 0.1 and 1.4 ppm. Nitrogen dioxide NO², if concentration reaches 1 to 3 parts per million (ppm), it becomes fatal. World wide emissions of CO average over 280 million tonnes annually. Carbon and nitrogen are needed to plant as an carbon dioxide, nitrate or ammonium become toxic when combined with cyanide. Toxicity depends upon the formulation and concentration of the compound or gas in the atmosphere. Like mercury and lead exist in the environmental but it form methyl mercury this forms a greater hazard.
  2. SO² concentration 0.08 to 0.10 ppm shows unhealthy effects n human being. If its level reaches 5 ppm for one hour exposure cause human throat and lung tissue irritation. World wise emissions of particulate as of 1970 amount to 110 million tonnes. The same year world wide emissions of highly reactive hydrocarbons total up to 88 million tonnes. In 1970 world wide anthro-pogenic air pollution was 222 million tonnes.
  3. Each year 500 to 800 thousand tonnes of Freon, a type of fluorocarbons, are released in to the atmosphere.
  4. In human haemoglobin if level of lead raise more than 0.08 milligram per 100 millilitres of blood it becomes the victim of lead poisoning.

Air Pollution Situation in Sindh and Pakistan

In Sindh and Pakistan the air pollution is caused by vehicles like, automobiles, trucks, rickshaws, aircraft producing carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, lead pollution. Stationary sources of air pollution are industrial plants, power generation systems, construction projects and solid wastes. These sources add pollution like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate including dust, ash, soot, metals and various chemicals.
The air born particulate matter found in sample collected from Ayoub Research (Jhang Road) are:

Air pollution in Sindh and Pakistan is confined mostly to cities and industrial areas. Solid and liquid waste areas resulted due to human and industrial activities. The quality of in-land surface and ground water reserves are deteriorating very fast due to indiscriminate release of un-treated municipal and industrial effluents and productivity of solid and is decrease due to over cropping, mono-cropping and indiscriminate use of farm chemicals.

These chemicals and toxic waste in a liquid form, may not obstruct the drain but cause hazards like emissions of toxic gases, erosion of drain lining, which pose danger to public health. Dumping of solid and insoluble wastes in the drain results in the obstruction to the drainage and sewer lines which also result in to water-logging an spilling of waste water, which increases water borne diseases like hepatitis, amoeboisis, gastro-enteritis and typhoid.

Natural Air pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

Ozone located about 150 km high in the atmosphere is a pale blue gas with characteristic odour and its concentration at ground level is 0.01 to 0.03 ppm by volume, several atmospheric constituents like water vapours, an carbon dioxide absorb short wavelength solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation effectively but ozone is the only gas in earth´s atmosphere that absorb solar UV radiation effectively up to 3000 A° (300 nm). But due to air-borne articulate matter, liquid, solid and contaminate gases like O, N, N²O, CO², CO, Methane and Chloro- fluorocabons (CFs) Helium, due to this certain part of the world depletion of ozone layer is reported, this results in the amount of harmful UV impinging on the surface of the earth. The study show 1% depletion of ozone in the stratosphere produce 20,000 more cases of skin cancer every year. From natural and other resources we get pollution in form of CO², CO, ozone, CH4, Hydrogen sulphide, SO² oxides of nitrogen and dust particulate. The other pollutants are as under:


Factors considered to help in improving the air quality. These factors are explained as under:

Fresh Water Pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

The Indus delta occupies an area of about 600,000 hectares and has a silt discharge of about 400 million tonnes per year.

In Pakistan the fresh water pollutant present as a suspended material are mostly organic, in-organic and solid particles. The dissolved primarily substances are organic body waste, detergents, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pesticides and metal salts, in which domestic, secondary dissolve substances are, nitrates, phosphates, carbonates, industrial dissolved substances includes wide range of organic substances, detergents, oil, and metal salts. The agricultural dissolve substances, concentrated organic solution, livestock waste, phosphates, nitrates and pesticides.

In many places in the rural areas of Sindh the under ground water contains more than 150 ppm hardness caused by due to presence of lime-stone. For drinking and domestic purpose chloride concentration should be 250 ppm, while in Sindh it is reported as more than 350 ppm. Nitrates concentration for domestic use contains less than 45 ppm, while in Sindh many places they contain more than 90 ppm which is very toxic.
In some places in Sindh the well water at a depth of 2-6 meters is reported to contain aluminium about 24 ppm, while WHO standard for its level is 0.1 ppm. This shows high level of pollution.

The pollutants which enter the water of the river Indus en-route are:

  1. Sewerage
  2. Plant material
  3. Organic chemicals
  4. Exotic chemicals
  5. Infection agents or pathogens like: bacteria, fungus, virus and etc.
  6. Minerals chemicals
  7. Agro-chemicals like: insecticides, fungicides and herbicides
  8. Sediments
    These are divided in to following:
    1. Non-conservative pollutants (easily reduced by bacterial action.)
      These consist of organic wastes, which create more trouble in fresh surface waters than inorganic because they reduce oxygen contents and stimulate infection agents.
    2. Conservative pollutants (resistant to biochemical break-down)
      These are not broken-down by bacterial and include poisonous heavy metals and persistent pesticides which show up again usually in our food chain.
    3. Mineral pollutants
      Among mineral pollutants, oils and their derivatives are worst as they kill aquatic plants and animals. Some of them are poisonous to life and some other cause toxicity to soil, when added with irrigation water.
    4. Solid Wastes
      Urban solid waste may include heavy metals and some slow bio-degradable materials like manure. They form only a small part of the whole sewerage disposal.

Possible sources of river water pollution

The Punjab is the agricultural province with irrigated area of 10.17 Mha as compared to 5.58 Mha of Sindh. 0.62 Mha of N.W.F.P and 0.35 Mha of Balochistan. Both Punjab and Sindh have large area under wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton and horticultural crops, pest control of these crops with chemicals is a routine process. These pesticides fall in to 3 groups: insecticides fungicides and herbicides. These pesticides are absorbed in the land and their residual effect in some cases last indefinitely and others for few months or more. They reach the river Indus in the following ways:

  1. Percolation.
    The pesticides percolate in to ground down to water table through irrigation water. Water table being continuos under the ground, they reach the river water through its embankments by seepage, when level of water in the river is low and some times from a distance of one to two miles. During the winter months water from the embankments seeps and collects to form a channel. Seepage water accounts for some 3000 causes between Sukkur and Kotri barrages and the inverted cone formed by such seepage extends to a few miles inland from which water moves to the river. The Punjab has more rivers, closely spaced and has large area under cultivation than Sindh also regenerates seepage water which carries pesticides from their vast fields close to the river embankments and most of such seepage water flows does the rivers to the Indus and from thence to Sindh. In winter months most of this waste enters the Sukkur Barrage perennial canals namely, Rohri, Nara, East and West Khairpur, Dadu and Noth West.
  2. Flush floods during inundation season.
    Waste water collects in ponds, ditches, Sim Nallas and depressions close to water channels. This polluted water reaches the rivers in early inundation season through flush floods. This is specially true of the Punjab, where the rivers do not have embankments and waste water on the land reaches the river regularly.
  3. Run-off water
    During rains and storm floods, polluted water reaches the rivers.

Kinds of Pollutants in the river Indus

The following are the pollutants usually found in the Indus waters and are present in some quantities in all waters but develop when environments are correct for their multiplication.

  1. Microbiological pollutants
    • Green algae, which come through natural sources
    • Fungi, which come through natural sources
    • Viruses, which come through human excrete and natural sources
    • Protozoa, which come through human excrete and natural sources
    • Parasites, which come through human excrete
  2. Inorganic pollutants from fertilisers and manure
    Nitrates, Nitrites and Phosphates; from dead and decayed matter are carried to the river water through runoff from the agricultural fields. They also seep from ground water. Their major original sources are manure, fertilisers and excrete of all kinds of animals and humans. Nitrates and Nitrites move nearly as rapidly as water that transports them.
  3. Inorganic and organic pollutants from plant protection
    These include:
    1. Insecticides
      • Cyclo compounds
      • Organo phosphates
      • Carbamates
      • Animal plant derivatives
      • Inorganic compounds, lead arsenate, arsenic, sodium, aluminium, fluoride, sodium flou-aluminate, silica, aerogel, ammonium, fluosilicate, non-phosphate, insecticides, organic phosphates etc.
    2. Fungicides
      • Inorganic compounds of copper, zinc, cadmium
      • Organic metals of copper, cadmium, tin, iron, mercury, aluminium, potassium, sodium
      • Carbamates of iron, zinc, manganese
      • Organic fungicides
    3. Herbicides
      • Phenoxy compounds, benzoic compounds, acetic acid and phatallic compounds, nitrites, nitrogen derivatives, urea compounds.
      • Metalorganic and inorganic of sodium, arsenic, ammonia, borax, copper, phosphates, carbothiolaes, halogenated hydrocarbons, etc.
      • Leaching of soluble matter through water from the root zone as a result of filtering of soluble fertilisers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, namatocide and other contaminants. Inorganic which do not contain carbon and are derived from mineral sources are harmless in small doses and include nitrogen as nitrate, magnesium, calcium, sulphates and chlorides but heavy metals can be harmful.
      • Organic compounds with exception of simple compounds of carbon such as carbon dioxide, compounds, various industrial by-products.
      • Pesticides, which are both mobile (water solubility more than 30ppm and have soil absorption coefficient, kd, less than 5 and persistent (half life greater than three weeks) are considered contaminants.

Effects of water contaminants and pollutants
on the human beings, consuming this polluted and contaminated river water.

  1. Microbiological organisms
    Algae and fungi
    Intestinal disturbances and distress
    Viruses: viral hepatitis
    It occurrence is most common in Sindh in rural as well as urban area. It is found in endemic form all around the year and probably is on the increase.
    Other viruses
    They cause pneumonia, typhoid fever, intestinal distress
  2. Bacterial of various types
    It is categorised in various forms as listed below
    1. Typhoid and paratyphoid bacterial
      It causes typhoid and paratyphoid fevers resulting complications. These diseases are found in almost all parts of Sindh in sporadic and endemic form all around the year.
    2. Gastro-enteritis diarrhoea
      It is caused usually by E.coli Bacterial. This disease is also found in almost all parts of Sindh in sporadic and endemic forms, all around the year.
    3. Cholera
      It is caused by Vibrio cholera is usually in epidemic form. Although it is not common but it erupts any time usually in epidemic form.
    4. Protozoal infections
      It causes different complication usually connected with digestive system and is categories as:
      1. Amoebiasis caused by amoebia is also common in Sindh by the human excrete.
      2. Giardial diarrhoea is usually prevalent in Sindh and sporadic form and is the result of pollution on the river water by the human excrete.
      3. Dysentery caused by dysntery bacillae: This disease is found in almost all parts of Sindh in sporadic and endemic form, all around the year.
    5. Helminthic infection
      It has following two forms:
      1. Ascariasis (Round worm infection) is most common in Sindh as the result of pollution of the river water by the human excrete.
      2. Hydatid, fish tape worm guinea worm and Scfistomomiasis, fortunately these are uncommon in Sindh.
  3. Non-agro chemcials
    Chemical pollutants cause various symptoms and diseases in human beings, in various forms for example:
    Introduction of excess amount of even non-injurious chemicals already present in the body. i.e. iron and copper cause nervous and gastric problems, pigmentation of the skin and weakness depression, affect lungs, liver, kidneys, digestive, circulatory and reproductory system, cause cancer dermal toxicity, skeletal damage, intestinal stress Wilsons´s disease, central and peripheral nervous system damage, methemoglobinemia and toxicity in pregnant women and children etc. Mercury, lead arsenic and some organic compounds affect the bone marrow and in turn affect the normal haemogenesis, causing anaemias and lack of production of white blood cells and macrophages which are very important for human defences
    Turbidity in water
    Simple turgidity in water alone interferes with disinfecting and may be considered as pollutants.
    Excess sodium salt in water
    Over 20 ppm sodium chloride can cause blood pressure in susceptible individuals
    Exceeding suggested levels of water:
    1. Exceeding suggested levels of aluminium, chloride, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, pH, silver, sulphate and total dissolved solids would create a serious health problem. Even factors like eater colour, corrosively and foaming agents have problems connected with social acceptability and economic use.
    2. Metal like lead, mercury and arsenic can lead to serious health problems including irreversible damage to brain and quick death.
  4. Agro-chemicals
    Many agro-chemicals like insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and serious pollutants, but the worst are organo-chemicals and nitrities from chemical fertiliser or manure or even organic chemicals from industrial wastes which causes residual effect in the body resulting in weakness, lethargy, wasting of muscles, cramps, mental returnees and harmful effect on main organs of the body link liver, bone marrow and kidneys etc.
    Some agro-chemicals are responsible for dreaded diseases like cancer, other cause stomach problems, defects at birth mortality among children, organo phosphates persist in body once get in to food chain or by inhalations and give rise to a number of complications.
    Public concern
    1. Fertiliser nitrogen in the form of nitrate nitrogen is one of two major sources perceive to be a problem. High concentration can cause certain kinds of concerns in adult and methemoglobinemia also called blue baby syndrome in infants if nitrate contaminants are more than 100 to 2300ppm. The safe limit is 45ppm. Feeds or forage on basis of 10,000 ppm as dry weight basis cause acute nitrate toxicity´s in unassimilated ruminants.
    2. young and unwound animals can be more sensitive to excess nitrates in drinking water.

Marine pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

In Sindh and Pakistan the major types of marine pollution are as under:

In Pakistan the city having water pollution caused by sewerage and industrial discharge, and waste water drain in to rivers or channels. The Kabul river located Nowshera get polluted due to discharge of industries, sewage and home in it. The same is the case with the Leiah Nullah in Rawalpindu, the Ravi in Lahore, a canals in Faislabad and Lyari and Malir in Karachi. The extent of pollution in the effluents of the Lyari in 1991 was: chloride content is 1000-1300 ppm, sulphate 850-1200 ppm, phosphate 35-50 ppm and total dissolve solids (TDS) 2000 ppm. The coastal water in Karachi shows high quantity of total dissolved solids (TDS), chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. As a result the salt which is produced at Mauripur Road is un-fit for human consumption.

The harbour alone received over 150 million gallons on un-treated industrial effluent daily. This causes pollution at the seaport and in coastal waters. In future these effluents should be treated before discharging them in to the Sea by nallah or the Laru or Malir river.
In 1995 static shows that Pakistan generates 46920 tonnes of solid waste per day, out of which 19190 tonnes comes from urban areas and 27730 tonnes comes from the rural areas.
The city of Karachi alone produces 250 mgd of sewerage and generates 3000-5000 tonnes of solid waste. While the city´s treatment plants have a capacity to handle only 20-33% of its solid waste.

Waste water flow from Karachi about 1,000 ml/d (222 mgd) at present. By the year 2025 it will increase up to 3,000 ml.d (666 mgd).Based on an average BOD strength of 400 mg/l, the total pollutant load is about 400 tonnes per day (t/d), increasing to over 1,200 t/d by the year 2025.Most of this waste water is discharge in to rivers without treatment, as a result river water turns to dark grey in colour, high BOD, with low dissolved oxygen, moderately saline, high level of suspended solids and show hardness. Flushing flows occurs few weeks each year during mansion season. This highly polluted water drains in to mangrove swamps, salt bed and bay. The major city´s waste water flows, through open drains and down nulls and rivers. The cumulative effects of these environmental problems cause a high incidence of water borne diseases.

Effect of pollution on marine living organisms

In the year 2000-2002, total fish production from Pakistan was 665,000 metric tonnes, while marine fishes was 480, 000 metric tonnes and inland fisheries was 185,000 metric tonnes. Pakistan contains nearly 350 different species having commercial values, out of which 240 are commercial fish, 50 small pelagic, 10 medium size pelagic, 18 large pelagic, 15 species of shrimps, 12 of squid/cuttle fish/octopus and 5 lobsters species. At resent the fish production is 0.5 million metric tonnes.

About 80% of un-treated industrial and domestic waster water discharges in to the Sea through sewers and rivers like: mainly Lyari and Malir. Many creeks and coastal water in Karachi exhibit eutrophication due to presence of high level of organic pollutant. They also contains high level of toxicity high metal in its. This brings marine bio-diversity and fish-eating birds.
Due to heavy marine pollution, the mangrove species Ceriops tagal and Aegioceros Corniculatum can not bring good result. While existing species Avicnnia mangrove species growth reduce tremendously so the species Rhizophora can stand some marine pollution, it should be introduce to reduce marine pollution

The dissolve oxygen reduced below 4 to 5 parts in million arts of water, fish becomes scarce, if further reduction in oxygen amount take place this results in an increase in anaerobic bacteria. The concentration of sediments (particulate) normally 50,000 to 200,000 ppm, some time its goes up to the level of 600,000 ppm, which cause destruction of fish, fauna and aquatic organisms. Some ornithlogists estimate that 50,000 to 250,000 birds are killed each year by the effects of oil pollution. Although sea pollutant deposition in the sediment of ocean floor are clean by bio-geo-chemical cycles, but still polychlorinated b-phenyls, mercury, cadmium and lead salts in the tissues of certain marine organisms are found. The addition of chlorine in water it help in reduction the pollution f various diseases like, typhoid, dysentery, cholera and tuberculosis, but its high concentration becomes pollutant.

Land pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

In the year 1999-00 Pakistan total geographical area was 79.61 million hectares in which Sindh share was 14.09 million hectares. In the same year Pakistan total cropping area was 22.76 million hectares in which Sindh have 3.88 million hectares (Ref. D)

The cropland available per capita in 1990 was 0.17 hectare, expected available cropping land in the year 2025 will be 0.07 hectares. (Ref. B)
Sindh has 68,000 sq km under arid zone, which constitute 48% of total area of Sindh. The level of basic socio-economic services is very low in these areas due to growing pressure on land, increasing use of chemicals, desertification and deforestation brings pollution, which reduces the productivity of land and effects on living organisms and living things in Sindh.

Land pollution in Sindh can be divided into the following sectors:

Soil sample contamination with heavy metals

Various experiments on Sindh soil show pollution with heavy metals. These results are shows as under:

Metals Cadmium (cd) ppm Chromium (cr) ppm Copper (cu) ppm Nickel(Ni) ppm
Normal limits 0.50 Not finalised 20.00 25.00
Limit found in Soil of Pakistan 1.05-1.85 17.00-129.95 16.95-58.95 25.10-33.50

(Ref. I)

Vegetable pollution

Vegetable grows on Sindh land show pollution with heavy metals, these results are shown as under:

Name of vegetable Edible portion Cadmium ppm Chromium. ppm Nickel. ppm Zinc. ppm
Normal limits   0.02 1.30 10.0 5.0
Spinach Leaves 0.04 5.36 12.34 8.72
Bitter gourd Fruit 0.04 3.25 10.63 5.89
Lady finger Fruit 0.05 4.21 10.89 6.12
Health problems   Abdominal pain
Lung cancer
Muscular in-co-ordination

(Ref. J)

Industrial pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

From industries we get pollution in gases form like organic vapours, chloro-fluro compounds, acids aerosols, aldehyde, fluoride, chloride and bromities. While we get heavy emission of particulars comes from industries are explain as under:

  • Steel mills-smoke, carbon monoxide, fluorides
  • Non-ferrous smelters-sulphur oxides, various metals
  • Petroleum refineries- sulphur compounds, hydrocarbons, smoke
  • Portland cement plants-sulphur compounds
  • Sulphuric acid plants-sulphur dioxide, sulphuric acid mist, sulphur trioxide
  • Iron and steel foundries-smoke, odours
  • Ferro-alloy plants-particles
  • Pulp mills-sulphur compounds
  • Hydrochloric acid plants-hydrochloric acid mist and gas
  • Nitric acid plants-nitrogen oxides
  • Bulk storage of petroleum producers-hydrocarbons
  • Soap and detergents plant-particles, odours
  • Caustic and chlorine plants-chlorine
  • Calcium carbide manufacturing-particles
  • Phosphate fertiliser plants-fluorides, ammonia
  • Lime plants-particles
  • Aluminium ore reduction plants-fluorides
  • Phosphoric acid plants-acid mist, fluorides
  • Coal cleaning plants-particles
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Fluorides
  • Odours
  • Arsenic
  • Cyanide
  • Solids suspended in water
  • Surfactants (detergents)
  • Carbamates
  • Organo-phosphorus pesticides
  • Organo-silicon compounds
  • Organo-stannic compounds
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon disulphide
  • Antimony
  • Selenium
  • Titanium
  • Vanadium
  • Nickel
  • Beryllium
  • Chromium

Noise pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

Noise pollution mostly caused by the road, rail, air-traffic, industries, construction, public work, indoor noise pollution are caused due to ventilation system, office machines, catering trade, live or recorded music and domestic animals. Most of the acoustical energy of speech is in the frequency range of 100 Hz-6KHz, most important cue-bearing energy being between 300 Hz-3KHz. Noise above 80 dB(A), may reduce helping behaviour and increase aggressive behaviour. These patients are very common in Sindh due to heavy noise pollution in Sindh many causes it results as chaemic heart disease, hypertension, mental illness, neurosis, increase level of stress hormones, sleep disturbance are mostly found in Sindh.

Miscellaneous pollution in Sindh and Pakistan

These are as under:

Radiation pollution

Radiation pollution are the radiation emitted or leaked by nuclear power plant. These radiation cause skin cancer, leukaemia, induce mutation and change genetic order and cause related diseases.

Macro and Micro Environmental Effects

Pollution causes macro and micro environmental effects on the media, these are explain as under:

  1. Physical effects on the air
    1. Temperature change
    2. Effect of gases and particulate on thermal transmission
    3. Effect on ozone layer and on ultraviolet radiation penetration
    4. Effect of noise and vibration
  2. Physical effects on water
    1. Change in temperature (this effects on change in currents)
  3. Chemical effects on the air
    1. It can change the composition of the atmosphere
  4. Chemical effects on water
    1. Effect of oil at the air-water interface
    2. bring change in dissolve and suspending substance concentration.

Environmental Monitoring System

The pollution problems, its ecological context, pollutants, pathways, changes in the environment, effect, standard, monitoring, cost, controls and International aspect For this purpose we have to establish the environmental monitoring system in Pakistan, future monitoring system should consider the following:

Factor Monitoring

  1. AirCheck the composition of air masses, national or local, around individual industrial source, pollution of air by road traffic and air-traffic, deposition of pollutants in rainfall and dry deposition of pollutants.
  2. Fresh waterComposition of fresh water systems, inputs and sinks and residue levels in target organisms.
  3. MarineComposition of Seas and estuaries, inputs and sinks and pollutants levels in organisms.
  4. LandDeposition of wastes, residue levels in soil, food and organisms.

Target monitoring

  1. AirCorrosion of zinc by atmospheric pollution, effect of air borne, fluoride on plants.
  2. Fresh waterUse of Bifidobacterium as an indicator of faecal pollution, and micro-organism activity in water.
  3. MarineEffect of sewerage system on ecosystem, measuring the toxic metals in Sea water used as biological indicator system. Monitor Escherichia Coli from sewerage effluent by use of cleansed mussels. Monitor the contamination and environmental effects on marine animals, organisms and on meio-fauna.
  4. LandMercury, zinc, lead and pesticides as a source of wildlife destruction. Effect of metal contamination on plant growth, effect of macro and micro nutrient level more tan standard level and its effect on plant growth.

Future Precaution to Reduce Pollution


In order to reduce pollution and bring sustainable development at national and global level, we must follow a few points. The basic factor in controlling the pollution in Pakistan is the control of population growth, at the same time, we have to closely monitor and develop strategies to handle, macro-environmental factors like: climatic changes, depletion of natural resources, use of organic and sustainable methods in agriculture, control the pressure of urbanisation and micro-environmental like: dust, noise, radiation and ozone layer.

If we consider above factors and improve education, mass and media and literature on the subject, it will bring awareness in the rural areas. We will definitely reduce the negative impact of pollution on the ecosystem and this will bring peace and prosperity in the universe.



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