Capital's polluted natural drains await STPs to protect ecology.

ISLAMABAD -- Once known for its scenic beauty, habitat and natural streams, the federal capital has been fast losing its elegance due to unruly population and housing societies growth threatening its ecosystem and serenity.

Its natural streams flowing out of perennial and seasonal springs of the Margalla Hills have turned into filthy and stinky drains as city manager had failed to put in place proper waste disposal mechanism.

Rapid growth in population and massive construction in catchment areas continued to pollute streams emanating unpleasant odor throughout the city, besides turning brooks into breeding habitats of mosquitoes.

The Captial homes about 26 small and large streams, passing through the hill torrents embracing rainwater and tossing over different residential sectors finally converging into two main streams outside Islamabad.

'Due to discharge of domestic waste and leakage of municipal sewers, these streams are highly polluted and spew foul odour and breed mosquitoes,' says an official of Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA).

'This is a continuous threat to capital's environment, habitat and human health. Therefore, there is dire need to focus this dilemma,' the official said.

In the initial master plan of Islamabad, the natural streams were left open with large spaces on both sides to make them flow smoothly along their natural courses. Later on, the encroachments were built by narrowing them to create space for residential and commercial plots.

Overflowing choked sewerage lines and plastic waste dumping into nullahs besides poor waste management as the citizens, Capital Development Authority and Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation had seemingly failed to fulfill their responsibilities.

'It was our collective responsibility. But, on one side citizens showed negligence in keeping these tributaries clean and one the other side the city managers failed to put in place proper waste disposal system,' said a CDA official.

'If you observe the tributaries of these various drains they show pure and crystal clear water, but they become dirty and smelly while passing through the human settlements,' the official said on condition of anonymity.

'At some spots, sewage water flows directly into natural streams thanks to broken lines. It becomes worse at night," he added.

The information with CDA also reveals that initially rainwater and sewage drains were laid separately. But, later on completion certificates were issued to house...

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