Sachet water phenomenon in Nigeria: Assessment of the potential health impacts

Dada, AC.  2009.  Sachet water phenomenon in Nigeria: Assessment of the potential health impacts, Jan. African Journal of Microbiology Research. 3:15-21., Number 1


Many years of neglect by government and inadequate investment in public infrastructure has left the public drinking water supply in Nigeria in an unreliable state. The society has therefore taken to several adaptive measures of alleviating this stress. One of these is dependence on sachet water, popularly referred to as 'pure water'. Although easy to serve and the price is affordable, complaints abound on its purity and other health concerns. A gradual nationwide ban was proposed by the national regulator for this packaged water but the market still witnesses tremendous growth, especially among the poor. To determine the bacteriological quality of drinking water sold in sachets in Lagos, Nigeria, one hundred samples of high- and low-demand sachet waters obtained from vendors at hot-spot locations were assessed using the multiple tube fermentation method. Based on the zero tolerance standards stipulated by the regulator, a 22% non-compliance level was recorded. Recommendations that may contribute to a policy that would allow for an integrated and holistic approach in managing the sachet water industry are discussed. The need for support of such local initiatives, especially in the drive towards achieving the much publicised Millennium Development Goals for universal water access, is also highlighted.


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