ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly was informed Thursday that 41 brands of drinking water were selling contaminated water and playing havoc with masses in the name of purity and quality.
Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid told the House in a written reply that during a sample testing campaign by Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) during April-June 2013, 27 brands were found selling water chemically or biologically unsafe.
The PCRWR had collected 86 samples of mineral water brands from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, D G Khan, D I Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur, Tandojam, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar, the House was informed. When these samples were tested in accordance with the permissible limits of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, it was revealed that the said brands were selling drinking water injurious to health.
The 27 brands which were stated to be selling contaminated water include Best Nation, Lock, Kalash Pure Water, Best Water, Cool, Aqua National, Active, Elixir, Nature Aqua, Aqua Safe, Al Sana, Oxigyzer, PanPura, Premier Pure Water, Safi Mineral Water, NN Welfare, Aqua Royal, Water Empire, Water Plus, Breg, Lite Wave, Oslo, Zindagi, Mathar, Sea Breeze, Kallan Water and Sunlay.
Similarly, after a time span of three months in July-September 2013, once again the testing process was conducted and 21 brands were found selling contaminated water. These samples also included those seven brands that were also found selling contaminated water during campaign in April-June 2013. These brands include Best National, Lock, Kalash Pure Water, Best Water, Cool, Aqua National and Active. Other brands found contaminated during July-September 2013 included Crystal Pure Water, Sparkle, Kinley, Al-Saudia, Naimat, Bliss Water, Union, Classic, A R Water, Verbena, Khaleej, Ideal Life, Miracle, and Al-Habib.
The minister informed the House that quarterly monitoring report of July-September 2013 has been disseminated to provincial Chief Secretaries with the request to take legal action against the substandard brands.
He said to control the contamination, besides the actions by the provincial governments, Director General Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority has been instructed to establish a coordination mechanism with PCRWR and keep the Ministry of Science and Technology informed about legal actions against all those brands selling contaminated bottled water. Meanwhile, sale of substandard bottled mineral water of different brands is going unchecked in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi that is posing serious risk to the health of the citizens.
It was observed that the sale of sub-standard mineral water is on rise at some of the main points including Pirwadhai, Faizabad, Saddar, Peshawar Mor, Khanna Pull, Karachi Company, Bhara Kahu, Alipur Farash and other places.
While expressing concern over the mushroom growth of illegal water (mineral) plants, the industry sources informed that most of these companies had flooded the markets without installing proper filters and processes to separate the contamination from the water and addition of valid nutrients and minerals in bottled water which caused water-borne diseases including gastro-enteritis, cholera and hepatitis. They said the unregistered companies deceived the customers by selling their “products” in bottles which looked the same as popular and registered brands of bottled water, thus earning them huge profits.
Industry sources further claimed that some bottled water suppliers had also started illegal businesses under the “umbrella” of registered companies.
While adding that these suppliers sold these illegal products in the market at lower rates than those of the original ones.
They stressed upon the concern department to issue the official list of the legal bottled water brands to save the customers from using unhygienic bottled water. Health experts said most of the times the bottled water is unhygienic and polluted which must be taken into account besides unerthing hidden hands who were playing with the health of people. He said it was the responsibility of the administration to keep an eye on the fake and sub-standard products that are sold at prominent places.
When contacted, the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) official said that samples of the water have also been sent to the laboratory for tests and further action against the manufacturing company will be taken on the basis of the lab report.
“The illegal bottled water is contaminated and is hazardous for human health, which should be banned in the larger interest of the public,” he added.