HOW PURE IS THE SACHET WATER YOU DRINK DAY IN DAY OUT? – THE CAMEROONIAN PERSPECTIVE

Source: Ngwenekome Priscilia Ahone, Cameroon (Yaounde)

Amidst high consumption of sachet water in Yaounde, purity is questionable!

Sachet water is being consumed at an immense rate in Yaounde (capital of Cameroon) due to nonstop water crisis in most neighborhoods in the city, making the sale of sachet water profitable and fashionable in this part of the country. Yet its purity is being questioned due to the absence of the source of this water.

With the presence of the persistent water crisis in most localities in Yaounde like Mendong, Obili, Biyemassi, Accasia, Jouvence and Etoug Egbe inhabitants have become desperate with the search for this precious liquid. One of such ways is the purchase of water sold in sachets to quench their thirst.

Shop owners as well as hawkers are making an efficient business through the sale of this water along busy streets, markets and other main junctions like Poste Centrale, Mvan, Wada and Mokolo. Without any knowledge of the source, many keep savoring the taste of this water saying one cannot resist a sachet of cold water during a hot afternoon.

Last year 2018, a journal on Physico-chemical and bacteriological characterization of sachet water sold in Yaounde City, Cameroon recorded a number of 20 brands of sachet water in Yaounde. Some of which included Bonheur, Natural, Boni water, Crys water, Alpha, Omega, Faro Nostra, Aquarrel, Max water, Roi, Kanadienne, Eau de Montagne and Pompions. In this journal, physical examination was carried out on these brands and it was noticed that they lack some conventional information which must appear on a food package. They do not have a manufacturing date and a serial number, and the absence of the serial number is disrespecting the FIFO (First In, First Out) principle that is essential in food industries. Out of the 20 brands recorded in Yaounde, only 6 had an operating license and 10 had an expiration date.

Moreover, most vendors of sachet water in Yaounde are not technically and scientifically grounded in the production and conservation of this water as they do not conserve it well. The itinerant vendors of sachet water reserve it in buckets and coolers filled with iced blocks while shop keepers reserve theirs in refrigerators which are likely to attract certain biological reactions that can reduce the sanitary quality  of the water. With this, consumers can get infected through waterborne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, Guinnea worm disease, Typhoid and Dysentry.

According to Professor Amobi Ilika, Director of Community and Public Medicine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, a sachet water exposed to heat is capable of infecting the drinkers to cancerous materials. He also said the polythene bags that are used to preserve this water are made of synthetic petroleum that deteriorates water in them.

With Yaounde inhabitants not knowing the source of this water sold in plastic preservatives, they still consume the product.

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