KARACHI, March 3: Almost half of the bottled water samples recently collected from different parts of the city by the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) have been found to be tainted and unfit for human consumption.
Of the 52 samples tested, 25 failed to pass the PSQCA standards.
The brands whose samples were found contaminated were: Choice, Paradise, Blue Gold, Oslo (two samples examined and both failed to meet the standards), Highland Spring, Spring Fresh, Water Plus, Sprinkle, Liza, Fresh, Vey, Al-Habib, Sunley, DeAar, Better Life, White Pure Filter Water, Orion, Active, Sehat, Swiss Water, Aqua Fresh, H2O, Marwah, Sanex and Abe Noor.
The brands declared ‘pass’ were: Quality, Hydro Clear, Aquifer, Aqua Fina, Aqua Crest, Nestle, Refresh, Vital, Aqua Nasa, Kinley, Miracle, Gold, Orion, Aqua Nation, Eye Line, Culligan, Zindagi Plus, Zam Zam, NAVA, Noval, Jel, Sahar, Aguatic, Pani, Oxygen and Cheers.
Speaking to Dawn, PSQCA spokesperson Rehmatullah Memon said that the testing was part of a regular exercise of the authority.“Bottled water is among the 78 compulsory items which comes under the domain of the federal authority and are examined periodically for quality control,” he said.
Regarding the action initiated against the companies whose products failed to meet the quality standards, he said that action was in progress and so far two factories had been sealed.
“The factories have been sealed because they were not registered with the authority while the rest have been served with show-cause notices. If the factories fail to reply to the notices, the authority will take the case to court.”
The factories sealed were producing products with the brand name of Orion and Orish.
Regarding the contamination, Deputy Director General (Quality Control) Nazir Hussain Malhan said that the samples collected from public places failed to meet the chemical parameters and microbiological limits.
“Most of the contaminated samples had traces of E.coli, pseudomonas (common bacteria) and high levels of total dissolved salts. These contaminations could cause gastroenteritis and affect the kidneys,” he said.
According to Mr Malhan, 19 samples mostly collected from hospitals were tested last year and 11 of
them failed to meet the standards.
Under the PSQCA Act, 1996 the authority is empowered to fine, seal the manufacturing unit or cancel the licence of any company found violating rules.
“The offender could get a three-month imprisonment with Rs50,000 fine,” he said.He added that a draft had been sent to parliament seeking an increase in the fine up to Rs1 million and punishment up to three years in prison.
“Retailers should ask for a PSQCA licence from the company representatives in order to ensure the sale of hygienic water.
“Besides, buyers should have a look at the PSQCA website to see which companies are registered with the PSQCA as they are regularly monitored by the authority,” he said.
People can also contact the PSQCA at 021-99207263.
Source: Dawn News Paper