National drinking water and sanitation policy soon: minister
ISLAMABAD: A national drinking water and sanitation policy is being formulated by the Environment Ministry in consultation with all major stakeholders and the National Coordination Committee on Water and Sanitation (NCCWS), said Environment Minister Major (r) Tahir Iqbal.
Chairing a meeting to formulate the policy here on Friday, he said that the Environment Ministry had been declared a focal ministry for taking an integrated approach to provide safe drinking water. The ministry has already developed a clean drinking water project under which 6,000 filtration plants would be set up all over the country. Maj Iqbal said that the national policy would not only provide guidelines and standards for safe drinking water supplies and management, it would help allocate necessary financial resources at national, provincial and local government levels to develop and maintain required infrastructure and systems.
The minister said that the one-third population lacked access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities which not only led to the spread of epidemics, it posed an enormous challenge to meeting millennium development goals. He said that the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had signed the annual work plan for 2005 – water, environment and sanitation programmes – to provide safe drinking water to citizens and improve sanitation facilities in the country. UNICEF Deputy Representative Ronald Van Dijk assured the Pakistan government of the UN body’s full support to implement the programmes.
Environment Ministry Secretary Rukhsana Jabbar Memon said that a need for the national drinking water and sanitation policy was being highlighted again and the ministry would make sure that consolidated and focused policies were formulated.