E. coli ​Contamination ​in Jar Water ​Omnipresent

E. coli ​Contamination ​in Jar Water ​Omnipresent

The findings of a study conducted by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (Barc) on the quality of drinking water in 2017 are horrifying.

The study, which used samples of water collected from 24 points in Dhaka, tested the quality of bottled and jar water being sold in the market.

A staggering 98 percent of jar water samples was found to contain faecal E Coli.

The E Coli bacteria is responsible for diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. At the same time, health experts say that the presence of E Coli indicates presence of other bacteria and viruses as well.  

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Image: E. coli bacteria

With the concentration of population in the city, the demand of drinking water continues to increase exponentially, as does the number of companies selling drinking water. According to Barc, many of these companies do not have BSTI authorisation.

But, the more worrying fact is that the samples from 150 brands, includes BSTI certified companies as well. The findings are revealing—BSTI certified or otherwise, water jars being sold are definitely are not safe for human consumption.

Water producing, bottling and marketing companies require licenses from multiple authorities to operate. It is a problem that many companies are operating outside this process of monitoring. But, even those operating within the system are not following the standards.

As one proprietor pointed out to this paper, minimum cost of a jar would be Tk 70 if the water treatment is done properly. That these jars are being sold for Tk 20 or 30 should highlight the extent of the problem.

It is imperative for BSTI to act immediately on the findings from the study. Unscrupulous business practices and inadequate oversight has turned the most basic of human needs into a health hazard, and criminal action should be taken against these companies. The need for effective monitoring and oversight is clear too. 

Source: The Daily Star