The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has improved their regulatory area and will now oversee the fruits and vegetable market. Vegetable and fruit shops will now be required to follow PFA’s guidelines and will issue licenses to them accordingly. The authority will also ban using waste water for agricultural purposes.
A spokesperson from the PFA informed that water is a valuable input in agriculture and the maintenance of its quality is necessary as it ensures the quality of the output – clean water maintains safe and healthy crops and will make sure that the public has healthy food to consume.
He added that waste water is being used in many areas of Pakistan and has lead to unhealthy produce being supplied in these areas. PFA aims to regulate this so that any harmful effects on the people’s health can be prevented. He said,
This poses a direct threat to the health of consumers who are exposed to elevated levels of toxic and poisonous elements present in waste water.
The spokesperson stressed that this is a serious issue and PFA needs the cooperation of other regulatory authorities such as the Punjab Agricultural Department, Water and Sanitation Agencies (WASAs), Industry Department, private businesses and social activists. Waste water cultivation has the potential to cause a public health crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
He assured that the provincial government and regulatory authorities have asked factories and industries to make sure that the water they waste is treated and cleaned before being disposed off.
It has been a common point of discussion for the past many years that industrial estates and zones should provide integral effluent water treatment plants to provide a complete treatment of waste water. However, there have been hardly any practical steps taken in this direction.
The PFA aims to create an active liaison with industrial estates and government agencies to take action in an expeditious manner.