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Bottled mineral water... By Daniyal

21 January, 2014

Of late there has been virtually an influx of bottled mineral water in different brands almost everywhere in the country. Every table of every conference, business meeting, and seminar is decorated with these bottles. The increase in demand has raised the cost of the product manifold. However, on the flip side there is a depressing part to this story. According to some recent reports appearing in the print and electronic media, Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) had issued notices and filed cases against 59 companies manufacturing bottled water for not adhering to quality standards. These included 24 from Punjab, 25 from Sindh, two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Islamabad.

Furthermore, the licences of 12 companies have been cancelled and cases were filed against them. These figures were collected from 84 brands of mineral water collected from 12 major cities during July to September 2013. Out of these total samples, 63 brands were found to be safe and 21 brands unsafe for human consumption due to chemical and microbial contamination. In short, this means that not all the bottled mineral water brands marketed in different parts of the country are safe.

It would be advisable that filtered tap water is used to the maximum extent possible as it is safer compared to bottled water. The government should also come forward in this respect and provide safe drinking water to its people. The official agencies checking and ensuring quality of bottled mineral water should not restrict themselves to releasing quarterly reports to the print and electronic media. They should also create an awareness programme so that people are not fleeced by these companies. PSQCA should also try to influence the government to take on these criminals who are playing with the health of the citizens for their petty interests.

Daniyal Najmi
Lahore

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