ISLAMABAD  – Shortage of affordable and safe drinking water has given boost to mushroom growth of bottled water industry in the country with around 69 including some fake and suspicious brands being sold in the market.

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has recently declared 16 out of these 69 brands of bottled water unsafe though large number citizens prefer bottled water due to poor quality of drinking water being supplied by civic authorities. Out of the 69 brands, 53 have been declared safe while the number of chemically safe is 55 and unsafe 14.

According to sources in Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the bottled water commonly is packed in Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which requires a significant amount of energy to produce.While PET is recyclable, only a fraction of plastic bottles made from PET are actually recycled, which is very disastrous, sources maintained. Another study found that a high percentage of the bottled water contained in plastic containers was polluted with estrogenic chemicals.

Bottled water may have reduced amounts of copper, lead and other metal contaminants since it does not run through the plumbing pipes where tap water is exposed to metal corrosion, however, this varies by the household and plumbing system. Anti-bottled-water-campaigns and organizations, such as Corporate Accountability International, some months back typically argued that bottled water is no better than tap water, and emphasize the detrimental environmental side-effects of disposable plastic bottles.