The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has launched a grand operation against farmers growing vegetables using poisonous sewage water.

Crops irrigated using the untreated water, spread over 15 kanals of land, were destroyed by tractors under the initiative. A PFA spokesman said, “We received a tip-off that vegetables grown near Chakra Road in Potohar Town were irrigated with the toxic sewage water.”

The Director of Operations North Amna Rafique formed a team after receiving the warning.

When her team carried out on-spot inspections, they found the information to be true.

The locals had planted vegetables, including carrots, radishes, lettuce, mint and spinach. The food items were irrigated with water that came by cutting out small drains in a nearby sewerage facility.

The farmers then sold the toxic vegetables in the market, although it was clear that consumers would be at risk of several diseases.

The spokesman said that all the crops were destroyed by driving a tractor over them. He also warned the farmers that legal action would be taken against them, if they continued to grow vegetables with the contaminated sewage water.

DG Punjab Food Authority Rafaqat Ali Niswana said that vegetables grown with this untreated water cause several debilitating diseases. Therefore, the cultivation of vegetables from sewage water were banned across the province. He added that strict surveillance was being undertaken at every level to ensure safe food from the field to the plate.