Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Ways to Ensure Drinking Water Safety One Drop at a Time

Did you know that 40% of households nationwide and 60% of Metro Manila residents buy drinking water? Plus, there are more than 20,000 water refilling stations in the country. As a mom, my primary concern is my family's health, as well as drinking water safety. Drinking tap water in most places is not reliable, that's why we buy bottled water whenever we eat outside and we have our water delivered from a water refilling station near our house.

                        Image from iStockPhoto 

However, we're not sure if these refilling stations follow the sanitary and safety measures. This prompts the questions, "Is water from commercial refilling stations safe? Or purified water through in-home water purifiers better?  Is your drinking water safe? Unsure?"

It may be time to do a little analysis.  I have nothing against water refilling stations. Well, I completely trust them with my safety. Or not.

One thing I’ve had to explain to my hubby repeatedly is that purchasing water is no guarantee that the water provided is absolutely 100% safe and microbe-free. Seriously. You pay for a gallon of purified water for your whole family to drink, but you're not even certain that the water provided is all that it’s reported to be. Regardless of where the water comes from, a key aspect of ensuring the safety of all drinking water is careful and accurate monitoring.

I've read a very informative article from Rappler that sheds a much-needed light on major issue of drinking water safety. Dr. Victorio Molina, an associate professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila College of Public Health, identifies proper operation and adequate education of handlers as key factors in the water treatment process.

It highlights the need for regular testing by trained personnel to ensure that the filters used in the water tanks of water refilling stations are regularly changed. Because, like #Aldub, #walangforever and even the filters don't last forever.

Dr. Molina explained that you have to change the filter from time to time, so obviously, that’s a very important factor. And then the proper cleaning, the proper handling and of course compliance to the requirements of the DOH in terms of training is also an important factor.

Water refilling stations are required by law to adhere to the Department of Health (DOH) Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, stipulated in Presidential Decree 856.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have endorsed household treatment of water through point-of-use purifiers as an effective strategy to avoid water-borne diseases.

Here are five ways to ensure drinking water safety;
  • Get the proper information. Never assume that water from ALL refilling station is 100% safe to drink.
  • Take control and demand monthly lab results and sanitary permits from refilling stations. (Yes, as consumers, we have the right to demand.) The best establishments should have a track record of consistently achieving 100% compliance with DOH standards.
  • Be vigilant about what you're drinking.
  • Report officially any problem that you experience.
  • Try in-home water purifiers as an alternative, which have the advantage of eliminating the need for manual handling and transport of the water.
Like what Dr. Molina said, you’ll never know by simply looking at the water if there is a problem until it already happens.  It is up to you to request the latest analysis of the water you are being supplied by your water refilling station. If not acceptable, demand that action be taken.

Better be safe than sorry, right? After all, it is you and your family's health who might be at risk.


4 comments:

  1. My family has been buying water from water refilling stations since I guess, 2003. Water from deep well from my city became yellowish and salty as years pass. When Maynilad supplied water, we used to filter the water using white cloth but finally decided to buy water because of the awful chlorine smell. We have tried different water refilling stations and the current one looks and taste the cleanest. My family's health and safety should come first so we make sure we drink only what is safe.

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  2. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

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