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Beware of bottled water Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Friday, 20 January 2012
By: P. Gopakumar

When Vipul Lama bought a bottle of mineral water, little did he know that fungus and dirt particles would be floating in it. This has come as a warning for those who believe packaged water is totally safe. Vipul, a resident of Gwarko, decided not to compromise on his family's health, eschewing the unreliable possibly unhygienic water supplied through tankers for packaged drinking water.

Confident that he had bought 2.5 litres of the purest drinking water available, he found instead, to his horror, that the container was contaminated with fungus, mould and bacterial colonies. He was shocked to find fungus formation at one corner of the jar. There were also many dirty particles. He wonders whether he is paying money for ill health. Vipul is not alone - the packaged water industry bears testimony to droves, who blindly believe that a sealed branded bottle of water is always potable. But, even as leading brands in super-stringent consumer markets like the USA and UK often fall far short of regulatory standards, here in Nepal, awareness about guidelines is increasing.
For water to be fit to drink, it must pass strict physical, chemical and biological tests. Health experts say, physically, water must be clear, free of turbidity and with total dissolved solids not exceeding half a grain per litre of water. It should be free of harmful chemicals, and generally available elements present should be within prescribed limits.
When it comes to the all important biological test, drinking water should be free of all pathogens, particularly those that come out of human waste. Meanwhile, the present government has de-licensed a few water brands after laboratory tests proved they failed to maintain prescribed standards. Members of the gullible public though are happy to pay extra on packaged drinking water believing they are investing in safety.
“Only last year the United Nations declared that safe and pure drinking water is a basic human right. Whether our water comes from government agencies or a bottle from a leading manufacturer, we have every right to know how safe it is to drink,” points out senior advocate Ashok Pandey. Interestingly, while packaged drinking water and water supplies samples are tested at random and occasionally, the government supply undergoes several tests at several points everyday.
Before purchasing a packaged water bottle, one should check the manufacturing date, the bottle for any leaks and ensure that the tamper proof seal is intact. Physical examination of the water will reveal foreign bodies, if any. Since packaged drinking water comes under the prevention of food adulteration act, affected consumers can seek legal action against, including compensation from the manufacturer:

Source: The Rising Nepal, January 20, 2012
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