Rotting carcasses and organs of sacrificial animals being thrown out in the streets of Pakistan is as much of an Eid tradition as anything else. While this leads to problems of littering, poor hygiene and disease every year, this year it might prove far more deadly, especially in the province of Sindh.
This is because of two main reasons.
Firstly, the coronavirus pandemic has already left the healthcare system reeling. Although there is substantial evidence that the curve is flattening and Pakistan is winning the war on COVID-19, experts emphasize that the danger has not yet passed. With an announcement earlier today that the government is going to open restaurants, cinemas and shops soon, at least a slight spike in coronavirus cases should be expected.
Secondly, the Pakistan Meteorological Department issued warnings of a monsoon spell in Karachi and Hyderabad from August 6 (today) to August 8 and so far it has come true, with heavy downpours having occurred in the cities.
Senior physician and epidemiologist Dr Naeem, while speaking to Express Tribune, warned of the dangers offal could bring. He said, “Bacteria living on animal remains can enter the human body and affect the lungs, thus causing a severe cough, skin diseases, and allergies. Affected people can suffer from deadly diseases like intestinal inflammation or pneumonia, while those who are already suffering from different diseases and have weak immune systems can face further complications.”
This danger is only compounded by rainwater, which is already known to potentially cause disease outbreaks such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Government authorities need to immediately work to remove remnants of offal spread throughout Sindh, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad. Otherwise, Pakistan could find it even more difficult to move past the coronavirus pandemic.