The quality of the water we do have may not be as it should. Last year, parliament’s Housing Committee issued a report which found that water in 18 governorates, including Alexandria, Giza, North Sinai and Assiut, is polluted to the degree that it is unsafe to drink. According to the Egypt State of the Environment Report of 2005, the four sources of pollution to our water sources are sewage, factories, agricultural draining water and waste. It mentioned that 65 percent of people in Egypt drink polluted water, and 25 percent of child mortality (children under 5) is provoked by water-related issues. “It’s very dangerous.”
But Cairo’s tap water is the nectar of the gods compared to that found in the provinces.
According to Ahmed Shaaban, professor of water microbiology and head of the Water Pollution Department at the National Research Center, summed the situation up concisely: “Tap water is safe and clean enough to drink.”
Conceding that it contains impurities, he noted that “nothing in the world is 100 percent pure,” including tap water. Unfortunately, he also revealed that Cairo inhabitants have it good when it comes to water quality and access. Cairo’s tap water is much cleaner than the liquid which runs through taps in other governorates, that is, when it trickles out, as many living in the governorates have limited access to running tap water.
Raw sewage is illegally dumped into waters less than 100 meters upstream from where children swim. Children are employed to dump sewage to avoid legal allegations.
|The Express Pipe pumps industrial effluent into Al-Khadrawiyah Drainage Canal|
|Heaps of trash lining an irrigation canal|
|The Egyptian Water Partnership launched a clean-up campaign and removed solid waste from the sides of this canal|