Three Christian sewage workers died of suffocation while cleaning a blocked sewage pipeline in a town namely Ara Basti in Dist. Bahawalpur situated in Southern Punjab (Pakistan).
They were residents of servants quarters of Sadiq Public School in Ara Basti. Their names were Saleem Masih (50 yrs), Danish Masih (20 yrs) and Nadeem Masih (18 yrs). According to sources they were untrained workers without having any sort of protective instruments. Two of them Saleem Masih and Nadeem Masih died just in a short while after jumping into the pipeline while Danish Masih was pulled alive by the people standing around the manhole but he died on the way towards Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital for emergency medical aid. The tragedy took place on Monday July 3, 2017.
It is to keep in mind that sewage pipelines generate a number of harmful gases, known collectively as sewer gas. Gases include methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. This can have deadly consequences, especially for people who work on sewers or sewage treatment plants.
According to local residents the deceased sewage workers Saleem, Danish and Nadeem who were employees of Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) had no chance for survival. They were wearing inappropriate clothing.
It is a common practice that in Pakistan sewage workers work unsupervised without any training and equipment to survive in case of such incidences, Sometimes their clients try to help them in certain cases but generally it doesn’t work and the clients also fall in danger.
It is to be noted that during the month of Ramadan a Christian sewage worker died in a similar incidence. He was rushed to hospital but the Muslim doctor refused to touch him because of the filthy body of the victim. When his brother washed his body an Oxygen cylinder was brought to restore his breath but it was empty.