Port Harcourt – Dr. Chukwuemeka Oluoha, Executive Director, Abia Primary Healthcare Development Agency, has said that the proposed ban of the packaging of sachet water in cellophane was in the interest of public health.
Oluoha in Port Harcourt on Tuesday said that the plastic material used in packaging pure water was not good for products meant for consumption.
He said when a plastic material was exposed to high temperatures it dissolved gradually and released potentially dangerous cancer causing substances, called oxidants.
“The public, subsequently, drinks these without knowing because it is not seen,“ Oluoha said. He said that the pure water sachets affected the environment because of they were non-bio-degradable materials.
“Besides, pure water sachets are not well disposed of in our environment and left unattended, they accumulate because they are not bio-degradable.
“This causes environmental nuisance and because it traps water, this can interfere with long-term fertility of the soil,“ the health director said.
Oluoha commended the government for the proposed ban but urged it to develop an alternative packaging with non-cellophane biodegradable properties.
“Before embarking on the ban, government should develop an alternative packaging so that the pure water producers will remain in business,’’ he said. Also Miss Uche Okekearu, a Pharmacologist, said that although pure water business had helped greatly, in the creation of jobs, public health should not be compromised.
“Sometimes, when you drink pure water, it has a terrible taste which is caused by the place it is kept; if stored in a food fridge or smelly fridge, it will have foul taste.
“If you store a pure water bag on bare floor, the ones at the base of the bag will have odour with bad taste and the way the package is presented can cause water borne diseases.
“This is because, if the seller’s hand is dirty, the buyer is bound to drink in such dirt while sucking in the water; all sides of the pure water packaging are exposed to dirt,“ she said. Mr Maurice Okon, a pure water seller, said that every government policy should have the interest of the citizen at heart.
Okon said that he was not against the ban but that the government should develop an alternative that would be simple and affordable for the producers to remain in business.
“As we are talking about health, we are also talking about security and life; these people in pure water business are not criminals and most of them are employers of labour.
“Government should be careful not to turn them into something else in their quest for survival since a healthy person can become sick due to insecurity or die due to crime,“ he said. (NAN)