Beware of vegetables!!!

Beware of vegetables!!!

Doctors and health practitioners never get tired of filling you in on the never-ending list of benefits that you can derive from consumption of fresh vegetables. Karachiites, brace yourself for alarming findings about a number of vegetables that you consume with a blind faith that what you are eating is very healthy.

The upsetting results that Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has released after running tests on a number of vegetables grown in Malir area will change the way that inhabitants of this unruly city look at, what is normally considered, healthy food. These vegetables invariably form a better part of daily food menu for every household located in the capital of Sindh and the economic hub of Pakistan.

Geo News’ investigative report on vegetables grown in Malir has startled everyone, especially the health conscious people or the patients advised by doctors to stay away from meat and consume more vegetables.

These vegetables contain a much higher amount of carcinogenic metals including arsenic, cadmium and lead than considered fit for human consumption, according to international standards.

Why is it so? That’s a million dollar question. Here is why. These vegetables, including cauliflower, lemon, bitter ground (karela), sugar beet (chuqandar), green chili and cucumber are grown on a wide area in Malir NOT with fresh water but with sewer running in the city’s sewerage lines as well as untreated and highly toxic industry effluents.

You no longer need to eat unhealthy food to contract cancer, hepatitis and diseases of kidneys and liver besides those relating to stomach and intestines because this job is satisfactorily being performed by roadside stalls and other vendors selling these vegetables and we don’t even know since when.

These vegetables contain an abnormally high amount of arsenic and cadmium which are considered harmless if not cross the level of 0.03 ng/g and 0.05 ng/g respectively.

The findings of tests run by Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) revealed the following:

Cauliflower contained 41 percent higher amount of lead, 0.24 nano gram/gram arsenic and 0.372 ng/g cadmium. (Arsenic and cadmium are considered harmless if remain within the limit of 0.03 ng/g and 0.05 ng/g respectively.)

Lemon contained 21 percent higher amount of lead and 0.16 ng/g cadmium.

Karela (bitter ground) contained 48 percent higher amount of lead and 0.24 ng/g cadmium.

Chuqandar (sugar beet) contained 46 percent higher amount of lead, 0.18 ng/g arsenic and 0.69 ng/g cadmium.

Green chili contained 22 percent higher amount of lead.

Cucumber contained 41 percent higher amount of lead, 0.64 ng/g arsenic and 0.39 ng/g cadmium.

The growers of these vegetables are playing with the lives of citizens for earning an extra buck, as 20 percent of the total supply of vegetables for consumption of the city comes to the main Sabzi mandi from Malir.

There are no statistics available with us which can indicate for how long the citizens have been forced to eat these unhealthy vegetables.

It is highly regrettable that the citizens of the biggest city of the country are being fed poison by some barbarians whose sole aim is to make extra money regardless of how many deaths and miseries their practices must have caused so far and continue to do so.

Do we have any authorities that can put a check on this dangerous practice? Even if the answer is yes, what use are they?

Here is the most disconcerting fact that doesn’t leave us with much choice: you cannot tell Malir vegetables from those coming from other parts of the country.

Mazhar Bughio can be followed on Twitter @mazharbughio

Mazhar Bughio

Web journalist/ writer associated with Geo News/ The News International.

  • Kamran Rashid

    It a shame for our authorities that they are totally ignorant despite knowing that all. They are slowing poisoning people of the poor country.

  • Rahima Sattar

    why do we always hold the authorities responsible? are we not a part of the system? if something goes wrong we should escalate via social media that has the power… please take the first step…

  • Mohammad Salman Qureshi

    Million of Thanks to God that we are alive. otherwise this story might be broken after hundreds of deaths….

  • Anonymous

    Venomous vegetables. Yuck, man it’s disgusting. I’ll throw up the cauliflower I just relished with a couple of desi ghee soaked wholemeal chappatis. It may have come from the some sewer farm. You never know. Something must be done before my body becomes arsenic, lead, or cadmium shop. All the heavy metals and other industrial pollutants are carcinogenic. What fun would be chemo therapy for me. I don’t want to die fighting cancer. Think.

  • Jameel

    Kia karain, kia khain aur kia na ……… dawa ya sabzi dono ka matlab direct visa…….

  • Taj Ahmad

    We can not trust our own government, leaders and suppliers,
    it is better to grow vegetables and fruits in your own backyard instead of
    depending on market to supplies these stuffs to sell on the street.
    We had grow all kind of vegetables and fruits such as reddish, cucumber,
    tomato, green pepper, banana, mango, papaya in our own back yard,
    everyone can try to grow, the land of Karachi is good for all kind of
    vegetables and fruits farming.

    • Ayesha Rahman

      majority of people in Pakistan are poor and they have not even their own houses then how can they have their own backyards…….?

  • S Nasrullah

    Thank you Mr Mazhar Bughio for focusing the attention of the Authorities and the consumers about the venomous vegetables cultivated with deadly combination of Sewerage water and Industrial waste. The produce has been examined and laboratory tested for the extraordinary dangers it spells to the human health. The video clip points to the illicit power connection that runs the Tube Well 24 hours a day without a meter to note the electrical power consumed and the charges remaining unaccounted for. Those farmers and their front men, engaged in cultivating and disposing their produce in the market for human consumption are killers and murderers of the first degree. The negligence of the Health department, a Provincial subject, must instigate to roll the concerned heads. As if Drones and the Dangue were not fatal activities to wantonly castrate and cull the demographics of explosive population enterprise, these ignorant farmers playing with the lives of their compatriots rank themselves with those external enemies conspiring to harm Pakistan in every which way they can.

    The Bureaucracy which have been on their globe trotting trips to learn new principles in Administration and Efficient Civil Services in both Public and Private Enterprise, must also apply the technology of safe and secure Disposal of Sewerage water and Industrial waste to safeguard Public Health and stem any likelihood of hazardous diseases erupting in endemic or epidemic forms through polluted waterborne virus activity.

  • SJ

    As a farmer, I know for a fact that a lot of vegetables available in the major mandis of Pakistan are tainted. The fact is that some vegetable crops are treated with pesticides on a daily basis and sent to market with the chemical residue still on the produce. These chemical applications often carry a half life of two weeks before they can be fit for human consumption. If, you add tainted ground water to this mix, the dangers are amplified.
    If the farmer does not spray on a daily basis, he faces production losses. The apathy is not just on the part of the government. The public is too poor to pay the price increase that would occur with more ethical growing and marketing practices.
    Sad but true

  • Ali Shere-Yazdan

    1. Enforcing Law effectively, intelligently and without comprises can assure many positive results. intelligent brains exists in dear Pakistan they can brainstorm, formulate & recommend methods & laws to check these practices.

    2. Distinguishing which vegetables come from Malir & which from other parts of Dear Pakistan is a secondry question. Primary question is that it is made sure that no where in Pak vegetables, crops to be cultivated and irrigated with the sewerage water and untreated and highly toxic effluents from leather tanneries.

    3. Educating the Recipients “Awam” and Educating + Warning the “Producers, Growers”

    Ali Shere-Yazdan

  • M.Saeed

    These authorities are “totally ignorant despite knowing that all” because, we vote them to do what they know best, that is, killing masses to make their fortunes. Otherwise, who can ask them to show their credentials to play with our lives? It is more of a shame for us in garlanding them than, “the shame for our authorities”.

    About “million of Thanks to God that we are alive”, we better find those millions not alive today, thanks to these heartless barbarians we vote into the butcher-house-assemblies.

    It should not be learning and quickly unlearning the hardest learned lessons that, “we can not trust our own government, leaders and suppliers”, as we always do by eternalizing the same goons, again and again, to play with our lives.

    About the ” bureaucracy which have been on their globe trotting trips to learn new principles in Administration and Efficient Civil Services”, who is responsible? Imagine the innumerable cases of bureaucrats getting the foreign training, just weeks before their retirements, either as gifts to the apple-eyed good-for nothing, or to those considered “stumbling blocks” in the way of ‘this governance’, in need of removal from the scene without causes any alarm.

  • Guest

    tera kiya ho ga kaliye,

  • Rizwanpro

    As being an Environmentalist I know That this slow poisoning of lead & cadmium can even effect the IQ level of our off springs.

  • Lucky

    In Pakistan, if two same products of different quality are offered to people, one with high quality high price and the other with low quality low price, most of the public will choose the one with low quality low price. So Mr. Mazhar, my conclusion is that people here in pakistan doesnt care about the quality or side effects of any product, as long as it is cheap. Thats y chinese products are so popular in pakistan ;)

  • Mjkhan

    Mr.Bughio,thanks for such write up.See the bigger problem is identified by one SJ a farmer who says that vegs are sprayed with pesticides for longer life before sending to market.Actually US did all such research on how to increase more produce and then started selling its products and technology to the world on the temptation of how to let the farmers make money.And the Pakistans criminal rulers(Military Ayyub Khan) invited all such American experts in its agrciultural universities and started this practice wholesale.Today the country where the cancer is the most due to pollution in food,water,air is USA and because of its technology sent to Pakistan and other countries the Cancer is increasing there as well.US is a capitalist country,if its people get cancer US sees it “Well this will increase the business of doctors,pharmacies,hospitals ,laboratories and they will make more moenya nd pay more tax to the Govt.But why are we muslims with so much sunshine,so much unemployed manpower,so pure and so much cow manure have to depend on the guidance of US to destroy ourselves.Sure Pakistan military is a agent of US and tool of its its expansion of technology and tricks.But should we not think and question?

  • Omer Rasheed86

    This is certainly not a new revelation. Some years ago also these facts came into limelight. But the harmful practice has continued! And it will continue for years to come. Silent helpless people will keep dying of various diseases. But people in authority don’t care. And why should they since their own families are settled abroad! It’s the common Pakistani who suffers in silence.

  • salman irfan sallu


  • Anonymous

    What to eat now?! As if those dodgy hormone fed chickens are not enough, there cones an attack of tge te killer karelas in an allegedly agricultural country…judging by the type and quantity of metal, perhaps the government has a plan to turn Karachites into batteries to address the power shortage….

  • M.Saeed

    It is not only vegetables but a whole inventory of toxic materials that we live with unknowingly. This Government is more interested in killing people by all possible means it can think of and killings with lethal foods, medicines and other items of everyday use is the easiest. Instead of going into details, I list below, some of the issues in need of serious considerations:

    1) Indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides has resulted in the extinction of many species of vultures consuming dead animals. Studies have established their extinction due to failure of their kidneys resulting from high amount of pesticides in the flash of the dead grazing animals they consumed.
    2) It is often observed that, fruits like apples, peaches, apricots, etc., when washed with water, give strong smell of DDT or similar chemicals used on fruit trees, to dispel insects from harming the fruits.
    3) Our transport uses “Unleaded” fuels that give out highly toxic Lead reddened exhausts. We breathe air having hundreds of time allowable levels of lead that affects mental capabilities, especially of school going children. Even we have high concentrations of lead in our paints and printing materials that are banned since 70’s in the world due to their toxic nature.
    4) Asbestos is another material that is known for its highly carcinogenic nature. Regulations require that, it should only be handled, if at all required, by workers using hermetically sealed gowns of the type used by under water operations. But, we see our laborers working unaware with asbestos sheets and pipes every day in our construction industry. We also extensively use Asbestos in our water supply systems while it is completely banned in the world since long for such uses. There are very strict regulations enforced in the world, relating to the use of asbestos, having severe punishments/penalties for violators because it relates to protection of public life. But, in our case, we have no regulation or control even on production and use of life saving medicines, not to talk of such “petty materials”.
    5) There are an innumerable quacks doctors, hakims, dentists and road side healers playing havocs with the lives of their unsuspecting victims for which our governments have no concerns at all.

  • Emran

    This is what happens when govt. is corrupt and careless whereas people are illiterate. If these vegetables don’t kill the person completely the medicine would definitely do the job..No escaping!


    One of the quickest way to find out who is vegetarian in Pakistan is to turn off the lights at night and take off your clothes — if you glow in the dark — you ARE a vegetarian.

  • Murad

    this is not only the case of Malir, but same practise is being done in GUjranwal devision, Kasur, Faisalabad and Lahore devison. In Multan WASA is selling this sewage to farmers saying that it will increase the production. Health Department, Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Department Should take this matter on urgent basis.

  • Cute_virgo83

    what a news its amazing ,what about the ladies which are on diet and their meal consist of vegetables only?????????

  • iphone

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.

  • redsnow

    Excellent Blog every one can get lots of information for any topics from this blog nice work keep it up.

  • Google

    What a great blog post! Thanks for sharing it on your site.

  • Azshah_472

    Realy an imazing report that what we are consuming. may God bless us country fellows.

  • Khanman

    eco friendly :) , good way to save precious water ;)

  • M. Saeed

    Once there was a famous “Gutter Bagheeja” in Karachi and “Gutter Bagheeche Ke Amrood (Guavas)” were talk of the town. Free manure was available in plenty to grow Guava and some vegetables.


    Carnivore Muslims don’t like veggies any way.

  • Shairyar Baig

    what???? and what action is going to be taken now????

  • FAIZI90

    main aik bat kehna chahta hun k ap log kisssanu ko bura bl rhe hain mgr kya p yeah ni jantay kya woh aisa kyun kr rhe hain jb unhe peenay k liefresh water ni mil rha to kya wo khaq fres water se sabzi ugainge,sochne ki bat hah woh log halat k agay majboor hain janab ap ne ye too bta dia k wo people ki lifes se khail rhe hain ye ni btaya k ye kyun ho rha hah indai kko ap pasandida mulk qarara de rha hain jis ne ap k pani k uppar dam bnanay shuru kr die hain or jis k bill ko pass kranay k lie govt pori tayyari kr rhi hah SORRY TO SAY MAGAR AP LOG GEO WALAY LOGON KO FACT’S NI BTATAE AIK AAM ADMI KO PTA HI NI K US K RIGHTS KYA HAIN US KO ITNA GHULAM BNA DIA HAH K WOH LASANIAT K JHAGRAY MEIN PHASSA HUA HAH.KHNE KONOR BHI BHT KUCH HAH.

  • M Shahid

    It’s local government duty to stop the supply of dirty water for Agriculture usage.
    Thank you

  • Ss


  • Rauf I Azam

    I agree with your view point to the extent that people are forced to eat killer food in the name of healthy food but the question that still remains is: Who is the real culprit??
    The farmer? The one who sells such vegies in the market? The one who eats? or the one who has poluted the waters (i.e. all of us)?

    You seem to say that farmer is the real culprit but I guess the farmers in Malir are the ones who are growing these vegies since generations and there were times when cleaner, running water might have been available to them but then came in the industrialist and even the common man (who is now forced to eat the vegies grown on sewege water) who together poluted the streams and now they both are suffering.

    When you and me (as common men) release our sewege in the running water stremes we feel releaved that we have made our living cleaner and never think that it will actually come back to our kitchens in other shapes and forms.

    I think we need to dig a bit deeper to do the justice. This is a typical example of Hrdin’s “Tragedy of commons” and we are so deeply caught into it that it seems impossible to get out.

  • Saad Naseer

    Health is major issue when it comes for the prosperity of society. Such issues needs discussion. Think twice Pakistan is a very good forum for this agenda.

  • Amir Khan

    Agree with Mr Saad. Health is an issue that’s needs to be dealt seriously and yes Think Twice Pakistan provides an excellent perspective on such issues.

  • Umaid Tahir

    Think Twice Pakistan has a completely unique and interesting take on social and health issues.

  • Javed Akhter

    Stop cultivation of vegetable through sewerage water, Govt can formulate policy/law to protect human lives from using such vegetable. Farmer of these kind can be allowed to cultivate only Maize and other green fodder for animal use. It is easy for Govt to perform it job instead of asking people to stop use of vegetable of such kind.


    Anti pollution laws combined with detoxed tanks treated sewage water — not raw sewage – is the answer.

  • Imran