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Sale of bottled water increases manifold.

By ISLAMABAD, February 20, 2012 (Balochistan Times): 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 tp 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. Due to contaminated water being widespread, people started installing filtration units in the mid-1990s. This later developed into companies providing mineral water delivery services at home. Use of these gallon bottles that could be attached to a dispenser is still widespread. Sources in PCRWR further revealed that many of the mineral water companies are selling contaminated water. Besides this, number of microbiologically safe brands is 67 while number of microbiologically unsafe brands is 2. According to official data, the brands which are continuously being sold in market are 35 while the brands which disappeared from market due to contamination are 16 and the number of brands which are available in market with new name is 34. According to officials in PCRWR, drinking water quality is deteriorating continuously 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. PSQCA officials mentioned that many fake brands are being sold in the market openly and people must be careful while purchasing bottled water as the names of fake brands were recently disclosed by PCRWR.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Feb 20, 2012
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