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18% of city water unfit for consumption

delhi Updated: Mar 10, 2011 23:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Every fifth person in Delhi is at the risk of getting water-borne diseases, such as typhoid, cholera, gastroenteritis, jaundice, hepatitis A. The figures say it all.

In December, 2010, the Public Health department of MCD had sent tap water samples supplied by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to be tested in a government lab.

Results of these samples have revealed that 18% of the city’s water is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Out of the 616 water samples tested, 111 were found to be unfit for drinking.

Most number of contaminated samples — 21 and 18 respectively — were found in the south and central zone, that has areas such as Green Park, Malviya Nagar, Vasant Kunj, Vasant Vihar, Greater Kailash-I, East of Kailash, CR Park. “This is a gross health hazard. We keep telling the public to consume tap water. But if this is the quality of drinking water available, how can we prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases,” said VK Monga, chairman, Public Health Committee, MCD.

Unlike in the West, where water and sewage pipelines are laid out separately, in Delhi, both the pipelines are located in close proximity. As a result, in some areas, that have old and rusty pipes, the contents tend to mix, causing contamination of water.

“Not just drinking contaminated water, even washing, cleaning, and bathing with dirty water can cause serious illnesses,” said Dr Harsh

Kapoor, senior consultant, department of gastroenterology, Max Hospital. Boiling of water is ideal to kill any kind of bacteria, but the water should be boiled for atleast five minutes. The quality of water filters available in the market also help in filtering out bacteria.

“The efficacy of water filters depends on the quality of purifiers. Though most are 100% effective, filters should be regularly monitored and servicing should be regularly done,” said a senior doctor in the department of microbiology at the Lok Nayak Hospital.

DJB, however, objected to MCD’s allegations. “It was agreed a long time ago that all water samples will be collected jointly by the MCD and the DJB. This has not happened in this case,” said Sanjam Chima, spokesperson, DJB. “DJB takes the issue of contamination very seriously and if anyone has doubts (about the issue), they should tell us and we will rectify the problem,” Chima added.

Water worries

Testing of DJB water samples has revealed that 18% of Delhi water is contaminated.

Out of the 616 water samples tested, 111 were found to be unfit for drinking

In Delhi, water and sewage pipelines are located in close proximity. In areas with old and rusty pipes, the contents of the two tend to mix, causing contamination