Health threat

Published Oct 13, 2012 10:06pm

AS tap water in Pakistan is of poor quality, many citizens — cutting across economic lines — opt for bottled water. Some estimates suggest 50 per cent of Pakistanis don’t have access to clean drinking water. Catering to this demand there has been considerable growth in the number of companies selling bottled water in the country. However, government regulation of the industry is, by all accounts, weak. As reported, high levels of arsenic have been found in samples of 10 brands of bottled water. According to the quarterly report of the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, some of the samples contained levels of arsenic way over the allowable limit. Other samples were found to contain high levels of sodium and potassium. PCRWR officials say that after the errant brands are identified and their names made public, they shut down operations only to resurface after an interval with new names. Data collected by the PCRWR shows that over the past decade, every year the number of water brands declared unsafe remains consistently high; the fact the number is not going down means that while the reporting authorities appear to be doing their job, the state’s surveillance and enforcement mechanism is failing.

The number of brands declared unsafe may only be the tip of the iceberg, as in Karachi alone there are countless factories churning out substandard bottled water. Reports of corruption within the state’s quality-control mechanism persist, as it has been alleged that some brand owners pay off the inspection authorities. The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority needs to improve its performance while those officials involved in fudging reports or not taking action against unsafe water brands need to be removed. Considering the risk contaminated water brands pose to public health, the state cannot afford to be complacent in this regard.

Do you have information you wish to share with You can email our News Desk to share news tips, reports and general feedback. You can also email the Blog Desk if you have an opinion or narrative to share, or reach out to the Special Projects Desk to send us your Photos, or Videos.

More From This Section

Missing Benazir

What many are missing is Benazir Bhutto the opposition leader. It was a role in which she made so much sense.

Gasping for gas

All new gas import projects will plug today’s shortfall by 2017, by which time the gap would have grown bigger.

Picture of hunger

Pakistan desperately needs to address its food security issues. The National Food Security Commission must be welcomed.

Comments (0) Closed