Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, March 25, 2022: Coal-inflicted miseries of Tharis have started to complicate as their dug wells are now increasingly becoming contaminated due to the toxic waste being discharged by the mining and thermal power companies. Groundwater degradation in Thar, a painful occurrence after coal-induced displacement, dispossession and destitution, was a violation of certain environmental laws of the country, stated the experts.

This was revealed in a webinar titled ‘Coal-induced Water Woes of Tharis’ held on Friday by Alliance for Climate Justice & Clean Energy (ACJCE), a coalition of think tanks and civil society organisations working on energy transition in Pakistan. A short documentary was also screened at the webinar, highlighting the ground reality and magnitude of water-related issues in Thar.

Giving an insight into the problems being created by coal mining companies in Thar, Azhar Lashari from Policy Research Institute for Equitable Development said, “The coal rush in Thar has been depleting and poisoning the precarious groundwater resources of the region and making lives of locals miserable. Percolation of toxic water from Gorano and Dukar Chaou reservoirs, lowering water table around mining sites and dumping of wastewater in farmlands have been posing a serious threat to the ecosystem and public health,” he said.

Lashari added that while the water level of the dug-wells is depleting in some villages, the sweet water of the dug-wells surrounding the wastewater reservoirs is becoming toxic. “The incidents of malarial fever and livestock casualties have significantly increased in the area,” he added.