The business of unsafe jar water has flourished in the country over the years, especially in the capital and other urban areas in the name of safe and pure water, posing a serious threat to public health.
The demand of pure water has been increasing significantly in the capital as the water supplied by Dhaka WASA is not safe for drinking.
Taking this advantage, jar water suppliers have created a booming market in business centres, hotel, restaurants, households and roadside shops, market insiders said.
However, the jar water is not safe as most of the suppliers are not maintaining the standard of potable water.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Executive Magistrate Sarowar Alam, who conducted many drives against substandard jar water, told daily sun that most of the licensed companies are supplying jar water without proper purification.
“Most of the companies have filled the jars with tap water. They sometimes use well water without treating the water as per the standard procedures,” the RAB official said.
He also said some companies started the business right after applying for licences but they did not get the licences for not having proper water treatment equipment and facilities.
Most of the jar water producers have been operating their business only with a trade licence obtained from the City Corporation.
Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) has granted licences to 290 water manufacturing companies across the country, including some jar water companies.Nearly half of them are based in Dhaka.
The companies are required to meet 32 parameters to get a licence, including access to a legal source of water.
SM Ishaque Ali, director of the CM wing of BSTI, told daily sun that they conduct mobile courts against the impure water suppliers and also inspect the licensed factories and collect samples for lab tests.
The legitimate water purifying companies make small profits as their prices are much higher than that of illegal water suppliers, market insiders said.
Impure water costs around Tk 3 to Tk 10 per jar as the suppliers can produce 300 to 400 jars per day. But if a water supplier meets all the requirements for jar water, each jar will cost Tk 60-80, sources said.
“Most of the licensed jar water companies produce water without following proper guidelines,” Sarowar Alam said.
Besides, the water supplied by WASA is hardly potable even after boiling or filtering by traditional water filters.
In Bangladesh, 32 million people lack access safe water and water-related diseases are responsible for 24 percent of all deaths, experts said.
Drinking unsafe water can cause fatal waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, jaundice and typhoid. Diarrheal diseases constitute a major health problem in Bangladesh, killing over 100,000 children each year.