Egyptians’ right to clean water and adequate sanitation infrastructure is being violated, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) said Friday.
This announcement came after last week’s mass fish die-off in the waters of the Rasid branch of the Nile River. “This will continue to happen if water pollution in Egypt is not addressed by the government and local authorities,” the centre said.
The commission of fisheries attributed the die-off to a high degree of ammonia, lead and other contaminants present in the water that poisoned the fish, according to ECESR.
Laws protecting waterways from pollution remain unenforced, the organisation noted, adding that this allowed for “unabated pollution” by industrial and agricultural wastes.
“The Ministry of Interior is responsible of enforcing regulations against violations reported by water testing labs,” the centre stated.
In their statement, ECESR highlighted that 5.1% of deaths and 6.5% of diseases and injuries in Egypt are attributed to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene and mismanagement of water resources, according to a 2008 report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Egypt’s main source of water, the Nile, is subjected to a high level of industrial and agricultural waste which may contain pollutants such as asbestos, lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, sulfur oil and petrochemicals. Such contaminants are inseparable from the water, causing permanent damage, an earlier study held by ECESR said.