KARACHI – Markets flooded with so-called mineral water bottles are playing havoc with the citizens’ health and it seems as if the roaring illegal water trade is thriving with impunity.
Though various brands of bottled water being sold in every nook and cranny of the country claim through their labels that they contain mineral water, all the world’s best dictionaries, including the 7th edition of Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, define the meaning of `mineral water’ as “water from a spring in the ground that contains mineral salts and gases.” So the question here arises that how a company, even if doing filtered water business, could claim that it was selling mineral water and, if not so, than why the regulatory authorities such as Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s Food & Quality Control Department are keeping mum over the issue in spite of the fact that it directly relates to the lives of human beings.
Are these organizations (PSQCA and KMC’s F&QC dept) are hand in glove with those companies playing with the lives of people by selling them either filtered or piped water (being supplied by water utilities), queried a senior citizen.
He was of the view that if the aforementioned organizations are really sincere and want that the so-called mineral water companies should not flourish at the expense of citizens’ health, than they should, at least, publish a list of products that are potentially hazardous to health.
Meanwhile, an official of Sindh health department, requesting anonymity, told this scribe that a larger number of unregistered companies are selling impure water either in bottles or in jerrycans.
“Various unregistered companies have been fleecing people by selling them unhealthy water in bottles similar to that of registered companies’ popular brands,” he said, adding that though the so-called mineral water firms have been doing roaring business at the cost of people’s health, the quality control and monitoring authorities have, so far, failed to take legal action against them.
He was also of the opinion that the concerned department should widely publicize the names of all those companies which are hoodwinking the people in the name of mineral water.
Meanwhile, a leader of Pakistan Medical Association, Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad said that though the provision of clean drinking water was the basic responsibility of the government, it has utterly failed.
He said that that the ratio of diseases, particularly water-borne diseases, could be reduced by 60 per cent across the country provided citizens had access to clean and pure drinking water.
The PMA leader attributed the water-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, typhoid, diarrhoea and hepatitis A and E to contaminated and polluted water.