Eight mineral water brands spreading Hepatitis C in Islamabad

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-Consuming water from Deep Spring, Nectar, Hydro8, Bareen, Moozan, Elovina, Aquantis and Mapple Plus resulting in Hepatitis C

ISLAMABAD: As many as eight mineral water brands are providing contaminated water to customers and spreading Hepatitis C, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Food Department, after receiving complaints on the Pakistan Citizen Portal, collected 15 mineral water samples and sent them to the National Institute of Health (NIH) to test their quality.

The results available with this scribe exposed these mineral water brands poor standard, proving that as many as eight brands are not only providing contaminated water but are also responsible for spreading Hepatitis C in the capital.

These mineral water companies are Deep Spring, Nectar, Hydro8, Bareen, Moozan, Elovina, Aquantis and Mapple Plus. Coliform numbers in these brands are 60-240 whereas, other bacterial germs were also found in large numbers.

NIH’s report added that sealed bottles of all water samples of different brands were opened in the laboratory in the presence of experts where they examined it professionally and marked it unsatisfactory and unfit for human health.

NIH in its medical assessment added that in all water samples the coliform level is from 50 to 240 while total viable counts are 4×10 as well other bacterial germs are also found in large number and marked all these samples unfit for human health.

Water scientist, Dr Abdul Majeed while talking exclusively with Pakistan Today said that if the coliform level in any water is above than 0 then it is a serious risk to human health.

“Hepatitis C, gastro diseases and especially a chance of death if using by someone using these mentioned mineral waters and according to national and international standards these water samples are not only contaminated but a high risk to human health” Dr Majeed added.

It’s pertinent to mention here that around 200 registered and unregistered mineral water brands are working in Islamabad and Pindi, mostly inside dingy houses and their basements.

When contacted, Hyrdo-8 Project Manager Usman denied logical scientific proof and refused to admit test results. “We will challenge the results in court because we have a good name in the market,” he said.

Whether or not the company takes it to court will be interesting to see as ICT Food Department Director Iqbal Yousaf confirmed that brands like Hydro-8 were guilty of lying. “NIH is a reputed government institution in Pakistan and having rich credibility. We sent 15 samples to the laboratory for medical assessment in which seven brands were proven to be according to international standards and eight were marked as unfit for human consumption. So, it is clear that NIH carried out a responsible assessment and only pointed out the brands which were dubious,” he said.

Owner of Moozan water was more aware of the problem and admitted that there have been problems at his end. “We are trying to improve our standards but unfortunately the employees working inside the factory only adopt precautionary measures when I am on the spot and negate them in my absence,” he said as he assured to eliminate the problem in the future.

“Most mineral water factories established in rural parts of the twin cities are simply bottling boring water without purifying it at all. Additionally, the factories have an unhygienic environment and they do not use a single precautionary measure,” Yousaf said.

He further added that he personally visited all mineral water factories and collected samples where he observed the unhealthy environments from where these water bottles were being supplied. “We will take strict action against all the accused who are playing with lives of people,” he concluded.