Persistent organic pollutants in Pakistan: Potential threat to ecological integrities in terms of genotoxicity and oxidative stress

As a consequence of both increasing population and industrialization in agro-economic sector, Pakistan has inevitably been confronted by multicomplex environmental challenges. Owing in part to poor regulatory framework, pollution due to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has caused serious problems throughout the country. Resultantly, extensive use of POPs is causing vigorous deterioration of environment and human health. The current study addresses: (1) the general information on associated ecological effects and toxicity assessment by meta-analysis for local fauna and flora (2) their respective occurrence in living organisms; and (3) sources and distribution patterns of various POPs classes in environmental compartments of Pakistan. Based on the study, it can be concluded that the environment of Pakistan is highly contaminated with organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), dechlorane plus (DP), and polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), which is further supported with the meta-analysis. Nevertheless, unavailability of environmental quality standards and food safety for POPs render it a forthcoming challenge of multicompartment toxicity exposure. Therefore, strategies must be planned for risk assessment of biologically active POPs, while the POP waste inventory should be elevated, along with the necessary measures to promote appropriate handling and treatment of POP as a matter of prime importance.