The drinking water pipes are often seen next to open waste water due to lack of proper drainage
SAFE DRINKING WATER
CH. HUETTINGER KHUROO
As a Swiss citizen, I never doubted that the water coming from the tap is safe. It tastes good, it looks clean. Not so in Kashmir. I quickly realized that the drinking water, even when it comes from the Master Plan drinking water supply and strongly smells of disinfection, may not be safe. When I saw the connections of the pipelines which my father in law, who was a government employee, improvised due to lack of adequate material which the government was supposed to deliver, I understood that leaking of pipes is a risk for infection of the water. The increasing diarrhea incidents in the village, during the time when the ground water level is high, speak their own language. Though everybody knows the illness “Typhoid” not many people understand the connection between the drinking of infected water and getting ill. The drinking water pipes are often seen next to open waste water due to lack of proper drainage. Villagers are left alone in finding solutions for their waste water problems, resulting in high risk for contamination of drinking water.
As a report in Greater Kashmir about contaminated drinking water (“Infectious, water-borne diseases on rise in Kashmir”, 3. August 2012) shows that contaminated drinking water is a common problem in Kashmir. Using bottled water is no alternative. The author of the article “Environmental Bottleneck” (GK, 1. September 2012) writes it very clearly. The costs are very high not to speak of the environmental disaster the left behind plastic bottles create for our next generations.
But the plastic bottle – make sure PET is written on it - may be used to disinfect the contaminated water and to make it safe for drinking. A Swiss scientist detected and established the SODIS (abbreviation of SOlar Water DISinfection) method of disinfecting drinking water on household level, instead of boiling the water and introduced it successfully in many countries to improve the safety of drinking water.
The PET-bottle should be transparent, clean and without scratches. The water should be as transparent that we can read a newspaper through the bottle. (Muddy water may be filtered first or you wait until the sediments have settled on the bottom of the bucket or pot). The water filled PET-bottles are then exposed (best on a corrugated iron sheet) to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours. Cloudy sky prolongs the process of disinfection or makes it even impossible. The duration of sunshine, clouds, shadows etc. therefore have to be observed. To avoid any contamination after the disinfection process, the water should be used directly from the bottle.
Further information you may get on the website of www.sodis.ch. The teaching material and the manual with detailed technical information are in different languages available.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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