Monrovia — Mekki's Pure Mineral Water, a processed and sachet drinking water is produced under filthy conditions and an unpleasant environment, FrontPageAfrica has discovered.
During a tour of the company's facilities in Sinkor on Thursday, June 25, FrontPageAfrica observed that workers at the company were not wearing face mask - a mandatory health regulation instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Workers packing the sachets of water into sacs were using their bare hands, with some of them wearing short trousers and shower slippers.
A consignment of bagged water ready to be put on the truck for distribution (sale) were lying on the bare floor.
There is no regulation of movement at the water processing machine.
The compound in which the water the produced was also untidy. The bathroom is not cleaned.
The General Manager of Mekki's Pure Mineral Water company only identified as Kelvin, said he could not speak on the sanitary condition of his facility as he had gone to the Environmental Protection Agency to settle issues pertaining to their operation.
The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) recently made a scaring health disclosure regarding the danger of consuming water packaged in sachets. The EPA warned that sachet water is absolutely unsafe for drinking.
The EPA pronouncement was predicated on a scientific outcome from a specialized bacteriological analysis conducted by technicians from the Environment Research and Standard Laboratory.
"Technicians from the Environmental Research and Standards Laboratory at Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have analyzed the qualities of 18 sachet water brands in the country and realized that 17 out of the 18 sachet water brands tested are unsafe for drinking," the EPA disclosed.
The EPA further indicated that the lab results established that 17 of the 18 sachet water brands were unsafe for human consumption based on the parameters analyzed.
Sachet water is the major source of drinking water for a majority of Liberia's urban population simply because it is readily available and cheap compared to the bottled brand.
Rafael Ngumbu, Supervisor of the Environmental Research and Standards (ERS) Laboratory said the microbial quality of the water is used as an indicator of the nature of the environment under which the water is produced.
"It is against this backdrop, that technicians from the ERS Laboratory at the EPA have taken steps to analyze the quality of sachet water brands in the country to determine selected bacteriological quality and suitability for public consumption," Rafael said.
He promised that the EPA would invite a first batch of producers whose brands were tested for bacteria for a meeting while the Agency along with stakeholders including the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (WASH) to institute an approach for the immediate shutdown of unsafe water producers.
Days after the release of its bacteriological analysis, the EPA released the first batch to mineral water companies that are producing unsafe drinking water for public consumption.