MULTAN-The residents of Muzaffarabad, Shershah and Shujabad areas staged a demonstration against release of industrial waste and toxic water in canals and Chenab River here outside Multan Press Club on Saturday.

The protesters were led by the Makhdoom of Shershah who carried out non-stop sloganeering against irrigation department and industrialists. Participants were carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands like,” Stop discharge of toxic water into canals/river,” Let the animals live,” Our Children are dying due to polluted water.”

Makhdoom Shersh told media men that huge discharge of untreated domestic and industrial waste has turned rivers and canals in Punjab into a dumping pit, causing serious health and environmental hazards. He said that Multan is considered the second biggest industrial city of Punjab after Faisalabad. It consists of hundreds of factories that are creating both environmental and water pollution. These industries include textile, chemical, food processing, pulp and paper, poultry, dairy, plastic, paint, pesticides, leather, tanneries and pharmaceuticals. He said that residents of Muzaffarabad, Shershah, Ambala, one of the most populated areas of the city, are facing a dilemma. The canal water, which is supplied to land for irrigation purpose, is infected with industrial waste and toxins. Presence of toxic heavy metals in irrigation and canal water is causing serious damage to animal life in surrounding areas. Besides, use of contaminated water for agricultural purposes and its consumption is causing people to get waterborne diseases that is putting huge burden on healthcare infrastructure. The municipal waste from western parts of the city and Industrial estate is collected through a network of drains and discharged into the rivers and canals without any treatment, increasing pollution level with every passing day. He revealed various studies, high metal contents and arsenic level has been found in the pumped groundwater that coupled with contamination of sewerage has put the health of the masses at a greater risk of getting diseases.

SENSITISATION TO GENDER

EQUALITY, EARLY AGE MARRIAGES

In order to sensitize nikkah registrars, chairmen and union council secretaries on issues like gender equality and early age marriages, the Punjab Commission for Women Rights has launched a series of training sessions here on Saturday.

Over 1,700 Nikkah Registrars, Chairmen and Secretaries of union councils will attend 57 training sessions which will continue till March 14. The Commission is organising this training with the collaboration of Local Government and Community Development department.

Commission’s representative Nabeel Gondal disclosed that the participants of the training would be given information about recent amendment in Muslim family laws, law for the containment of early age marriages, prohibition of tradition depriving women of inheritance, law to protect women from torture, new laws for women rights, filling in the Nikkah nama correctly and its proper registration. He said that Nikkah nama could play key role in ensuring gender equality and it was the responsibility of Nikkah Registrar to protect the rights of both bride and groom especially the woman. He declared that tests would also be held after the training programme to evaluate the impact of the workshop and capability of the participants.