Islamabad - The poor quality of drinking water has compelled a cross section of citizens to buy bottled water, however, many of the mineral water companies were reportedly found selling contaminated water.

To monitor and improve the quality of bottled water, the government through Ministry of Science and Technology has designated the task for monitoring of bottled/mineral water brands to Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR).

The PCRWR sources on Thursday said according to the monitoring report 119 samples of mineral and bottled water brands were collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, D.I.Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Multan, Lahore, Bahawalpur, Karachi, Tandojam, Quetta and Peshawar.

Comparison of analytical findings with permissible limits of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has revealed that 23 brands were allegedly found to be unsafe due to chemical or microbiological contamination.

Out of those 23 unsafe brands, 13 brands have comparatively high level of arsenic, ranging from 11-68 PPB than PSQCA water quality standard for arsenic (10 PPB).

They observed that excessive level of arsenic can cause various types of skin diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, hypertension, heart diseases birth defects, black foot diseases and multiple types of cancers.

Whereas four brands were found to be unsafe due to microbiological contamination which may cause Cholera, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Hepatitis and Typhoid.

The remaining brands were found unsafe due to the presence of higher levels of Sodium and Potassium.

The poor quality of drinking water has thus compelled a cross section of citizens to buy bottled water.

As a consequence of this expanding market a mushroom growth of bottled water industry in the country is witnessed during the last few years.

They added that the PCRWR has asked the national quality control and surveillance authorities to take legal action against the declared 23 companies supplying contaminated bottled water to the public and playing havoc with their health.

Drinking water quality is deteriorating continually due to biological contamination from human waste, chemical pollutants from industries and agricultural inputs.

Piped water also gets contaminated because pipes are laid very close to sewerage lines or open drains and cause many serious water borne diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 25-30 per cent of the diseases are gastro-intestinal in nature.

The results of various investigations and surveys by several agencies have indicated that water pollution has become a problem in Pakistan. Most of the reported health problems are directly or indirectly related to water quality.