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ICC Note: Two Christians in Pakistan have died while trying to unblock a sewer without proper safety gear. Due to widespread discrimination, Christians in Pakistan are often forced to work in some of Pakistan’s dirtiest and most unsafe jobs. Abuse and lack of proper safety gear is common for Pakistani Christians working these menial jobs which has led to a number of Christians dying in Pakistan’s sewer systems.

06/08/2018 Pakistan (Christians in Pakistan) – Two more Pakistani Christians perish in a bid to unblock a sewer without wearing proper safety gear. These men, named Saqib Masih and Mushtaq Masih, were asked by their supervisor to unblock a sewer that was blocked for almost a year.

The incident unfolded on May 23 when 19-year-old Saqib and 45-year-old Mushtaq, both employed as sewage workers, were called by their supervisor early in the morning. Their supervisor directed them to clear a blocked sewer. Both men were asked to perform the task without safety gear.

This unfortunate incident occurred in Chichawatni, a town in District Bahawalnagar in Punjab province. Sewer gas is generally a mixture of inorganic gases created by the action of anaerobic bacteria on the sewage and sludge. This gas can contain hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic gas and if a person were to enter a tunnel or deep hole that contained sewage undergoing anaerobic breakdown without proper safety gear, it is more likely that he could become poisoned.

The sewer cleaners are not provided with proper gear so workers do inhale the poisonous gasses in the pit. Cleaners go down in the holes holding their breath and clean the sewer. In doing so, these sewage workers get paralyzed when they inhale the gasses. Many workers have lost their lives due to inhalation of sewer gasses as they lack proper safety gear.

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