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Pakistan's rivers are polluted with toxic pesticides and industrial chemicals


(NaturalNews) Much attention has been given to China's pollution of its air, water and soil that has occurred while it has played industrial catch-up with the rest of the world. However, these phenomena are not solely endemic to China as all of Southeast Asia is under chemical pollution attack due to the efforts of the countries within this region to catch up to the modern world's questionable standards of production in both industry and agriculture. The environmental threats from industry and agriculture in Southeast Asia have affected Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Vietnam is still struggling from the effects of Agent Orange used within the country years ago.

A recent discovery of excess pollutants in Pakistan's Ravi and Chenab rivers has determined that the sediment in those tributaries of the Indus River contained large amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which include organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).


POPs are not biodegradable. They linger and affect the area in which they're deposited. For example, PCBs are so pervasively toxic that they're banned from landfills in many regions, yet they somehow find their way from rivers into oceans.

PCBs are carcinogenic, create adverse nervous system effects, throw off endocrine systems and impede reproductive systems. PCB manufacturing was banned by the USA's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979. Prior to 1979, PCBs were used in the manufacture of electronic parts and circuit boards. While banned in the USA, third world countries and ambitious developing nations still use them and multinational corporations still share them.

A recent study published in the Scientific World Journal determined that Pakistan's Mangla Lake, a large reservoir used for fishing and swimming, contained high levels of heavy metals on the water's surface.


Not all pollution comes from industrial sources. Increasingly, agrochemicals have been used by small Southeast Asian farmers as part of the "Green Revolution" to produce more crops with less effort. These agrochemicals contaminate the soil and find their way into streams, rivers and lakes. They also find their way into humans.

India and Sri Lanka have endured a kidney disease epidemic for a couple of decades now. The people most often afflicted are male farmers between the ages of 30 and 60 who do not have any kidney disease precursors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. As such, the rise in kidney disease in these countries has been attributed to agrochemical use. Some agrochemicals used, such as DDT, have been banned in most western industrialized nations.

Sources for this article include:

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