After samples were tested by Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources during April-June 2013, dozens of brands were found selling water that was chemically and biologically hazardous. At least 41 brands were declared guilty of selling contaminated water to clueless customers. The samples were collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan among other places. The water was tested according to the parameters set by Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority wherein it became evident that the brands were injurious to health. The issue was raised in the National Assembly by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid.

Of course these revelations are no longer shocking; companies that operate in cahoots with others choose the ‘umbrella’ mode of production that allows unsafe products for mass consumption. The sale of substandard water has been going on unchecked in Islamabad for several years now while other provincial capitals are witnessing an influx of subpar quality water brands. For the average consumer who is oblivious to these realities, bottles that look like popular and registered brands are bought without a second thought. This explains why these companies have earned gigantic profits through merely deceiving innocent customers.

Zahid Hamid is right: These brands and their enablers should be banned entirely in the larger interest of the public or else masses’ health will rapidly deteriorate. The greed for generating revenue is the impetus behind these companies and it happens at the direct expense of a citizen’s health. Not only should they be prohibited from further production but common citizens should be given extensive and easily understandable information on how to spot an illegal brand and report it so that others’ health can be saved from contamination. Mushrooming businesses should not be allowed to meddle with our wellbeing.