ISLAMABAD: Dead fish from contaminated water are being used in poultry feed, in was revealed in a presentation to the Minister of Science and Technology by the Pakistan Council Of Research In Water Resources (PCRWR). Fish are getting dead to an immeasurable extent in Manchar Lake, largest freshwater lake in Pakistan and one of Asia’s largest, due to its environmental destruction, informed PCRWR, while presenting a detailed report on their “Environmental Degradation of Manchar Lake” project. The report provided a detailed account about the “anthropogenic activities on the water quality of Manchar Lake and their possible sources”. The source quoting the PCRWR stated that the core issue regarding the environmental degradation of Manchar Lake is that it’s not just damaging the environment of the lake and contaminating its water, but in fact, the biggest issue is the selling of its dead fish throughout the country. Besides the selling of these dead fish to the people, these fish are especially getting sold at Rs 600 per maund to the Poultry Industry, which is being used in Poultry Feed. This environmental catastrophe is not limited to its surrounding areas, in reality, it is indirectly perilous for the entire country since chicken is heavily consumed in the country. Dr Vaqar Ahmed, a leading economist of Pakistan who is also an adviser to the government said that “The Poultry Industry has been complaining to the government for not helping them in expanding their exports, however, the primary reason for their less exports is the quality, and nonetheless, this report shows their seriousness in improving their quality and getting access to the international markets”. According to the source, PCRWR said that “around 500 families are living at the boats in the water” and it is the central reason that has been contaminating the lake’s water. The large number of people living in the lake would obviously have to manage all their needs in the water which is causing a great deal of environmental damage to the lake. Additionally, PCRWR explained in their report about the “effects of sewage disposal from cities, industrial effluents and re-generated saline drainage water of adjoining areas”. The source, while referring to a previous presentation to the Ministry of Science and Technology during their visit to the Lake, said that “it was also presented that waste material of so many small scale factories in the nearby areas along with the sewerage water from numerous sources are getting dumped into the Lake”. “Environmental degradation is the core reason for Climate Change and Pakistan is among the top 10 countries which are most affected by the Climate Change”, said Dr Sajid Amin, an Economist in SDPI working on Environment and Climate Change. He explained that water contamination in lakes is not just damaging the marine life, but indeed, this is contaminating the ground water being used for our domestic use. Moreover, “the contaminated lake water these days is heavily being used in agriculture, since it is beneficial for the quantity of agricultural products, however, it is absolutely disastrous for human health”. The augmenting problem of malnutrition in people nowadays is the outcome of the agricultural products that we get from contaminated water, added Dr Sajid. Nevertheless, according to Nadeem Ahmed, an Environmentalist and Climate Change expert who was a leading researcher in SPDC that conducted a comprehensive study on Gender and Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in 2015, “the environmental damage to Manchar Lake that is one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, is that Siberian Birds are not coming there anymore, which used to come there. It has badly affected the aqua cycle and now we do not have various kinds of species any longer in this lake that we previously used to have.” He also added that people living inside this lake are having a miserable life as they do not have any alternative livelihood and source of income. Whereas, “their average rate of catching fish per day has also decreased up to 40 to 50 per cent”. The people have been provided with absolutely no social protection and the SPDC study did in detail explain the deteriorating health conditions of women living in the lake. The people living there have to drink this contaminated water and therefore their health is at a serious risk. Furthermore, International Organisations including World Bank also involved in this particular issue and recommended the government to take up the issue on immediate basis. However, the government did not take any substantive and meaningful initiative in this regard.