How safe is that pouch of drinking water?

Most sachets are filled with untreated water from farm borewells
Last Updated 05 May 2010, 17:37 IST

The plastic sachets stacked in the shelves of the hotels and petty shops carry the name of the manufacturing unit, address of the owner, mobile number. The legend on the packs also recommends that the water should be consumed within 21 to 30 days of its packaging. However, the pouches carry no date of packing, batch number and quality assurance information.

Health concern
Such deficiency of information did not seem to matter till recently, when many people who consumed the water from the sachets complained of vomiting and some about foul smell emanating from the water.
The awareness about the risk that the sachets carry were highlighted by consumer rights-conscious youths like Beeresh and his friends who found no information about packing and batch details. Retail shop owners failed to provide satisfactory answers to their queries.

And now SMSes are circulating in the taluk about fears of bone-related health problems arising from consuming the water. When contacted, District Surveillance Officer told Deccan Herald that the packaged water can breed bacteria if the contents were not treated in a hygienic atmosphere. There is possibility of consumers catching all types of disease, more so in summer. Consumption of such water may lead to vomiting, and sickness and even jaundice, he said.

Given the acute shortage of drinking water in the district, many fly-by-night entrepreneurs are packaging water from bore wells in farmers’ lands. Most of them do not even treat the water. But the health department officials appear to be in no mood to check the quality of the water pouches.

According to Taluk Health Officer Dr Narayanaswamy, the department is unaware of sale of water pouches. Action will be taken after conducting inspection, he said. Water samples will be sent to Bangalore lab. If the report is in negative, the license of the manufacturing unit will be cancelled and a criminal case will be registered, he added.
With public awareness about the risks related with the water sachets rising, pressure is mounting on the health officials to regulate the water to ensure that it is potable.
DH News Service

(Published 05 May 2010, 17:37 IST)

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