Water is one of the indispensable resources for the continued existence of all living things including man. The provision of an adequate supply of safe drinking water was one of the eight components of primary health care identified by the International Conference on Primary Health care in 1978. This study investigated the bacteriological quality of sachet-packed water in Imo State, Nigeria. A total of five sachet water collected around Imo State University premises where examined for registration number, manufacturing date, expiry date and net volume (cl). Physiochemical analysis carried out showed that these sachet waters where in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) Standard. The sachet waters cultured on bacteriological media showed the presence of coliform bacteria and other pathogenic bacteria. The bacteria isolate form the water samples are; Salmonella species, Coliform species, Escherichia coli, and Enterobacter species. Results showed that 100% of the packaged water samples examined were either untreated or produced under unhygienic conditions. High aerobic colony counts in the order of 106 were recorded from all of the samples examined. The findings show that 90% of packed pure water sold in the country are not fit for human consumption and are hazardous to health. This calls for urgent attention by regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies in the country.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Production and sale of sachet water, popularly called “pure water” in Nigeria, is presently a lucrative business, therefore many people are involved in the production and marketing of the product. Water is one of the most important as well as one of the most abundant compound on earth, and is vital to the survival of any organism (Tortora et al., 2002).Water in nature is seldom totally pure. Rainfall is contaminated as it falls to earth (Ajewole, 2005). The combustion of fossil fuel put sulphur compounds as being responsible for pollution of rain water by precipitation (Edema et al., 2001). However, water that moves below the ground surface undergoes natural filtration that removes most organisms. For this reason, water from springs and deep wells are generally of better quality than flowing water. Water related diseases continue to be one of the major health issue globally. The high revalence of diarrhoea among children and infants can be traced to the use of unsafe water and unhygienic practices (Omalu et al., 2010). The most dangerous form of water pollution occur when fecal contaminants like Escherichia coli enter the water supply and also through the fecal-oral routes of transmission. Microbial contaminants in water supply are the sources of many diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysentery and so on. Examples of such microbial contaminants are Salmonella spp., Shigella spp.,Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli (Edema et al.,2001; Tortora et al., 2002). Various opportunistic pathogens that occur naturally in the environment may cause disease in humans. Those who are at greater risk of infection are infants and young children, people whose immune system is suppressed, the sick and the elderly. In such individuals, drinking water containing large numbers of opportunistic pathogens can occasionally produce infections. Examples of such opportunistic pathogens are Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella spp., Areomonas spp., and certain slow growing Mycobacterium (WHO, 2001) in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) in association with the World Health Organization (WHO, 2001) has the responsibility of regulating the standard of drinking water. The agency has published guidelines for the production of sachet- packaged drinking water. Unfortunately most producers do not adhere to these guidelines (Onemano et al., 2003). Thus, this work is aimed at assessing the microbiological quality of sachet packaged water in three Local government areas in Ibadan.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The safety of drinking water is a worldwide public health concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1.1 billion of the world‟s population does not have access to safe water. In addition, 80 percent of diseases and one-third of deaths in developing countries are due to consumption of contaminated water (WHO, 2011). In Nigeria, it is reported that the incidence of acute watery diarrhoea is approximately 4.9 episodes per year and there are approximately 200,000 diarrhoea related deaths of children aged below five years with an average of 300 deaths per day (United Nations, 2012). Great concern must therefore be given to the quality of drinking water which is very critical in maintaining good health and for the overall socio-economic development of any society.
Due to the scarcity of safe drinking water in Nigeria, communities obtain their potable water in form of sachet water, popularly referred to as „pure water‟. It is the most common source of drinking water in Nigeria, given that it is relatively cheap, accessible and generally perceived to be of better quality (Stoler, 2012). Drinking water industries in Nigeria, mostly owned by private institutions obtain water from surface or underground sources and since both types of water can become contaminated by biological and chemical pollutants originating from point and nonpoint sources, it is usually followed by various treatment processes.Various studies carried out on sachet water from different cities have revealed the lack of purity of sachet drinking water in Nigeria (Oladipo et al., 2009; Afiukwa et al., 2010; Edema et al., 2011; Akpoborie, and Ehwarimo, 2012; Onilude et al., 2013). This is attributed to sharp practices, poor hygiene of vendors, polluted environment, and non-adherence to WHO/NAFDAC regulations (Omalu et al., 2010). It is therefore imperative that the quality of sachet water vended be continuously assessed for the protection of public health.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study is to evaluate the sterility of sachet water sold in owerri, particularly in Imo State University.
The objectives of this study are
- Isolation of organism from sachet water sold in Imo State University
- Identification of the isolates from sachet water sold in Imo State University
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Water analysis is the first step in determining the quality of the water you use in your home or commercial enterprise. Water that is supplied to cities, towns and villages is tested on a regular basis by the local County or City Council. Well and surface waters are vulnerable to pollution and should be checked for pathogenic bacteria. The presence of Coliforms in water bodies indicates presence of pathogenic bacteria. Sachet water sold in Owerri is to be properly analyzed for pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella spp. as this will help prevent once from drinking contaminated water.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on evaluating the sterility of sachet water sold in owerri, particularly in Imo State University.