At a meeting convened by a parliamentary agriculture committee on Sunday, MPs condemned the government for allowing farmland in some parts of the country to be irrigated with raw sewage. Some representatives went so far as to demand the death penalty for those responsible for the practice.
"Laws aren’t followed in this country, while the criminally negligent go unpunished," said MP Farouq Bahgat, expressing his gratitude to Al-Masry Al-Youm for exposing the issue.
According to MP Mustafa el-Guindi, farmers are forced to use raw sewage to irrigate their crops due to the government’s failure to supply them with clean water. MP Imam Mansour admitted to irrigating his own land in the Delta village of Faqous with wastewater. "But I have no choice. That’s why I don’t eat what I grow," said Mansour.
Committee Chairman Abdel Rehim el-Ghoul declared that a minister unable to solve the people’s problems was "not worthy of the position." MP for the ruling National Democratic Party Abdel Fattah Omar, meanwhile, attributed the situation to "government intransigence."
The sad state of affairs represents a "crisis worse than swine flu," declared MP Mahmoud Helmy, noting that some 100,000 people were diagnosed every year with cancer and kidney failure as a direct result of contaminated food products.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.