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KOT ASADULLAH, Lahore: Basharat Ali was 15 when his legs began to falter, a condition doctors have blamed on the polluted water in a village near Lahore infamous for the deformities that afflict many of its people.

Too weak to carry his own schoolbag, he was taken to the hospital, where doctors said water laden with toxic levels of arsenic, fluoride, minerals and various metals was to blame.

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“It was a big blow to me as I had to quit my studies to get treatment,” Ali told AFP on the rooftop of his house some 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s largest province Punjab.

From there Ali’s view takes in some of the plastic, chemical, pharmaceutical and wire manufacturing factories nearby. They are widely blamed for contaminating the water local residents have to drink.

According to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 90 percent of factories in and around the city dump their waste untreated in open pits or discharge untreated water in streams.

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