ISLAMABAD: Only 36 percent Pakistani population on average, including 41 percent urban and 32 percent rural is using safe drinking water in the country, a world Health Organization report revealed.
Results of the water quality monitoring efforts of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) indicate that 69 to 85 percent collected samples of water were contaminated.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has established 24 Water Quality Monitoring Laboratories all over the country to check quality of water on the provided samples, an official of ministry told APP.
He further added that the poor quality of drinking water has forced a large 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.
However, many of the mineral/bottled water companies were found selling contaminated water. To monitor and improve the quality of bottled water, the Government of Pakistan through Ministry of Science and Technology has designated the task to PCRWR for quarterly monitoring of bottled/mineral water brands and publicize the results.
According to the monitoring report for the quarter from July to September, 2017, 104 samples of Mineral/Bottled water brands have been collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Peshawar, Multan, Lahore, Quetta, Bahawalpur, Tandojam, Karachi and Muzaffarabad. Comparison of analytical findings with permissible limits of Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has revealed that 9 brands (i.e. Clean Plus, NICE, Blue Ice, Pacific Pure, Rise Water, Al-Shalal, Al-Safia, GEM Water and Do Aab Water) were found to be unsafe due to chemical and microbiological contaminations.
Out of those unsafe brands, four brands (i.e. Clean Plus, NICE, Blue Ice and Pacific Pure) have comparatively high levels of Arsenic ranging from 14-27 ppb than PSQCA water quality standard for arsenic (10 ppb).
The 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 etc.
The five brands (i.e. Rise Water, Al-Shalal, Al-Safia, GEM Water, and Do Aab Water) were found to be unsafe due to microbiological contamination which may cause Cholera, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Hepatitis, Typhoid etc. Whereas two brands (i.e. NICE and Pacific Pure) were found unsafe due to the presence of higher levels of Sodium ranging from 82-130 ppm than PSQCA water quality standard for sodium (50 ppm).