The Rivers State Government has warned that any distributor found engaging in acts capable of compromising the quality of drinking water being served to the public would be punished.
The state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Dr Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, made the warning while speaking at the 2021 Global Hand Washing Day and the launching of a campaign against exposure of bottled and sachet water to sunlight in Port Harcourt.
Gogo-Jaja specifically warned against exposure of sachet and bottled water to sunlight, saying it may cause cancer, leukaemia and it is capable of damaging other body tissues.
He urged distributors to ensure that their trucks were always covered to protect the water from sunlight.
“Some of us may not understand that when you expose water that is contained in sachet and bottle or plastic bottle, the heat may be injurious. What is used in the production of sachet and plastic water is called polymas,” he stated, adding that from polymas there are component chemicals that make up the sachet and the plastic bottle.
The commissioner said, “Water does not expire but the container does expire. So when you expose that plastic or sachet to sunlight, its speeds up the expiration of that content. So, when you drink contaminated water it contributes to stunted growth, dull brains and other defects. The Rivers State Government insists that any drinking water served in this state must be of quality and we have our standards.”
Gogo-Jaja stressed the need for regular washing of hands especially because the COVID-19 pandemic was still in existence.
“This is to emphasise the importance of handwashing. If you ask, as Africans, handwashing has been our tradition. To wash off germs from our hands, we need to use soap and water. And it has been established that washing our hands with soap and water protects us; to a reasonable extent about 40 per cent against diseases.
He continued, “All of us would also know that during the pandemic that washing of hands with water and soap contributed a lot in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have fought against COVID-19. The world is moving forward. This year’s theme, ‘Our future is in our hands’, is to remind us that to move forward, we must imbibe and inculcate in our children the attitude of washing our hands with soap and water.”