WWF to extend FTW programme for treating industrial waste, sewage

LAHORE:The World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature would extend its reed-bed floating treatment wetland (FTW) system to other cities as its experience of the system had been successful in Faisalabad to adsorb toxic effects of industrial and sewage waste water.

Talking to reporter, WWF official Sohail Ali Naqvi said that the initiative was funded by European Union for the period of six years, 2017-2022.

Apart from Faisalabad, the project would be extended to four major cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Sialkot and Karachi, he added.

While introducing the reed-bed FTW system, he said that apart from absorbing of poisonous affluents like chromium and other metals, the method would also treat at a level where microbes and bacteria live, he said.

Sohail Ali Naqvi, while replying to a question about the working of the system said that a reed-bed system through media modules provide a basis for plants to grow. The medium was open and porous in structure, which enabled the plants’ roots to spread and create a vast activated surface area, he added.

“Through the retreat method of waste water, the treated water could be reused for irrigation purpose,” he added. He said they adhere to the roots and the microscopic root-hairs of plants and within the fibrous media, adding that microbes and bacteria secrete sticky extra-cellular proteins forming biofilms.

Sohail said that at this stage the common reed plants trap and settle total suspended solids (TSS) as well as digest the organic matter/nutrients, including biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), nitrogen and phosphorous.

Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) Deputy Director Adnan Gill said the use of floating treatment wetland (FTW) was an efficient, economical and eco-friendly approach for the clean-up of water contaminated with organic and inorganic pollutants.

He said the discharge of untreated industrial effluent in environment pollutes the soil and water and it was one of the major threats to public health in Pakistan.

The traditional methods for waste water treatment were not only inadequate, but also SMEs and larger organisations in Pakistan were incapable to implement those for waste water treatment, due to high capital, operational and maintenance costs, and also lack of trained manpower, he added.

Meanwhile it may be mentioned here that WWF-Pakistan and International Labour Organisation (ILO) had recently jointly introduced a research-based reed-bed Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW) system at Faisalabad to adsorb toxic effects of industrial waste and sewage.