The Scourge of Mouth Cancer

November 19, 2019

photo credit- https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/2383350-skull-death

This weekend, my family and I visited our driver for a condolence on the death of his young son, who also worked in our Hotel.

The man died of mouth cancer … due to chewing paan (betel nut) and gutka.

Gutka, a tobacco-related narcotic, is truly the scourge of mouth cancer- and it is addictive!

In October, the Provincial Government enacted a tremendous law banning Gutka, with a heavy fine & imprisonment … while the nascent law is a positive step, the government has yet to follow up with effective implementation.

The problem is that for the consumers of this substance it is a narcotic.  You can’t simply turn off a switch.  Like other narcotics and behaviors, it is deeply ingrained in society and part of their lives – so much so that generations of families are consuming it concurrently.  Besides, I don’t believe we have the infrastructure to provide medication, counselling or alternative therapies to “un-learn” this behavior.

Like the law, we have had strict rules restricting betel nut on the job (let alone gutka!)- but, like the law, we cannot effectively implement our own rule.  We do physical checks and entry pat-downs – yet it makes its way into the staff canteen and staff areas.  In spite of knowing their colleague’s cancer (which was in its final stage when diagnosed), no one has even reduced this consumption.  Our own house maid, her mouth STUFFED, refuses to accept she’s chewing it – her mouth so full that she cannot even verbally defend herself!

On our condolence visit, not only was our driver’s wife consuming betel nut but their entire family was chewing away on it … nary a care to the reason behind reduction of their family’s size!

If the finality of death is not enough to scare such consumers to stopping this narcotic, what will ☠?

A future “Malir River-Basin Dam”?

(Photo credit- https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Malir-River-Basin-MRB_fig1_325475799)

August 12, 2019

Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/).  Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades.  The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi. 

One post in particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking.  At the outset, let me clarify that these are my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …

               Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year.  It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.

               The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.

Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits?  Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea?  If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River.  A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt).  It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.

There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!

Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?

(Photo credit- Samaa TV)

…AND THE RAINS ARE UPON US …

August 8, 2019

rainwater harvesting.jpg

(Photo credit- https://www.instructables.com/id/20-Rainwater-Catchment-System-No-Gutters-Required/)

Ironically, in March, I had blogged https://dinshawavari.com/2019/03/25/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink/.

… and now the rains are upon us and we don’t have any catchment system.

Karachi is facing proper monsoon rains for the first time in decades.  It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.

What is lacking are individual CATCHMENT systems.  Each building can easily have their own rainwater harvesting systems – it doesn’t have to be expensive.  After the last set of “rains” a few weeks back (though our rains are nothing compared to what India and Bangladesh have to go through during their monsoons and cyclone seasons ☹) I started reading up on rainwater harvesting systems.  In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way!  Brazil, Singapore & Australia are other successful examples.

Just as an example, when reading this website http://www.oas.org/usde/publications/unit/oea59e/ch10.htm, I realized the cost and process of making a catchment system is not prohibitive or unreasonable.  It can even work effectively with a simple tarpaulin.

There is a great need for our Government to lead the way in promoting private households, buildings and tall rises to try to catch and reuse rainwater – the WATER IS FREE PEOPLE … we just need to capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it for non-drinking purposes.

(Here’s another article- https://outdoortroop.com/how-to-capture-and-store-enough-rainwater-for-your-cabin/).

rainwater catchment

(Photo credit-  https://radio.krcb.org/post/rainwater-catchment-systems)