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Friday, November 25, 2022

Department of Environmental Sciences, AWKUM and WaterAid Pakistan Organized One Day Seminar


A joint seminar and painting competition was organized on the 24th of November 2022 at the Department of Environmental Sciences, AWKUM with the support of WaterAid Pakistan to commemorate the World Toilet Day 2022. This was a part of the series of events organized by WaterAid Pakistan across the country to celebrate and contribute toward the global observance to raise awareness about the impacts of sanitation on groundwater. The aim is to make the invisible visible and promote making groundwater protection a reality. Participants from academia, civil society organizations, NGOs, water and sanitation service providers, practitioners and government line department officials attended the event.

Dr. Dilawar Farhan Shams, Chairman Department of the Environmental Sciences, AWKUM welcomed the participants and delivered a talk on the domestic wastewater treatment. Engr. Pervaiz Nasir from Water Aid Pakistan briefly discussed the aims and objectives of the event, and WaterAid interventions in Pakistan. During the session, both national and international researchers and academicians presented their research findings that broadly covered the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) thematic areas. It was revealed that over 3.6 billion people, almost half of the world population, do not have access to safely managed sanitation at their home. Similarly, in Pakistan about 30% of the population live in poor sanitation condition, 75% of toilets are not linked with septic tank, and 19% defecate in the open.

Lack of proper drainage system, poor hygiene and inappropriate latrines contribute to raising water borne diseases. The researchers explicitly linked WASH related disease transmission routes in their presentations. Dr. Cheng, a researcher from the Center of Environmental Sanitation in the Beijing University of Science and Technology China, joined remotely and gave a brief lecture on the non-sewered sanitation system as an alternative option to the conventional sewer sanitation system. Dr. Shams Ali Baig of AWKUM presented his research on the prevalence of sanitation-related pathogens in drinking water distribution systems in Mardan and highlighted that it is one of the alarming issues in present drinking water distribution networks. Mr. Muhammad Ishaq, Solid Waste Management Manager of Water Supply and Sanitation Services Mardan (WSSCM) delivered a talk on the provision of water and sanitation services in urban Mardan.

In parallel, about 16 Pakhtunkhwa College of Arts (PCA) AWKUM students participated in watercolor painting competition. The objective was to develop and highlight the links of WASH and environmental pollution issues with human health. Keynote speakers and the painting competition students sensitized the audience well on how an adequate sanitation system can improve public health and has long lasting beneficial impacts on social and economic development by timely achieving the SDG goal 6, Clean Water and Sanitation.

At the end, Prof. Dr. Sultan Ayaz, Pro-vice Chancellor AWKUM in his closing remarks reiterated the importance of toilets in social life and thanked WaterAid Pakistan for the financial support and choosing AWKUM for this event. The Pro-vice Chancellor also distributed certificates of appreciation and shield among the painting competition position holders and the keynote speakers. The event ended with a walk within the campus to raise awareness on the World Toilet Day.