Home Global Village Standing up against processed water: Umair Khan from Swabi

Standing up against processed water: Umair Khan from Swabi

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When even drinking water isn’t natural, one needs to take a long and hard look one’s lifestyle and health choices. In a country where even drinking water is processed, let alone any edible/ingredient, growths are bound to be stunted and all the other nutritive consequences that are hitting the millennial generation.

Unfortunately owing to industrialization and urbanization, there aren’t many options left for consumers but to drink semi-filtered tap water and or buy processed water. Since the ‘filtered’ urban water sources are filter plants with outdated techniques, horrendous hygienic conditions and are mostly dysfunctional, drinking processed bottled water is the only viable option left.

There is also a catch to that. Processed Mineral water is generally obtained from underground sources in industrial areas. “The processed water is extracted from underground sources and is open to serious chemical contamination. When that is removed, it demineralizes the water and leaves that bitter tinge” said Umair Khan, Director at O1, a natural bottled water company, the first of its kind in Pakistan.

They provide bottled processed water and we’re aiming at educating people about the hazards of industrial-sourced water. We’re keeping our prices at bare minimum because the aim is not to run a business; it is to give people a healthier alternative”.

“At O1, we offer another water alternative that the world has already been at for a while; natural, tested water, directly from the source”.

There are around 284 bottled mineral water players in the market. Last year, the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority had tested 111 out of these and had rendered 22 brands unsafe to drink. With the alarming rate of new entrants propping up and with no actual means of ensuring the legitimacy of their procedures, the need to shift to a natural source becomes greater.

Read more: Pakistan’s water crisis: expensive and deadly

“Internationally, the need for bottling natural water directly from the source was recognized and acted upon long ago. Here, we’re the first ones” Mr. Khan told GVS, speaking about the origin of his company “We had been drinking that natural water for a decade. We were initially to set a hydropower source over a stream in a remote area of Swabi district. Eventually, we decided upon sharing that water with people. The process started in July 2012 but we started distributing in 2013. We’re covering Islamabad and Lahore for now, but we’re planning on expanding our net soon”

“For now we’re a limited company with a small operational staff but we’re operating under strict international standards. We have acquired certification from NSF International, an independent international organization, to comply with the requirements of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) Model Code”, the Director said.

In a country where even drinking water is processed, let alone any edible/ingredient, growths are bound to be stunted and all the other nutritive consequences that are hitting the millennial generation.

‘The 5-gallon filling line operates in a “Clean Room” environment to protect against secondary contamination using HEPA filters. The floors are food-grade epoxy. With access limited to the Plant Operator and Quality Control Manager in sanitized protective gear, the production area is restricted for protection’.

Read more: Supreme Court summoning of Sindh CM highlights water crisis

Bottles are externally and internally washed in a multi-step cycle, filled and then automatically capped and sealed with sterilized components to achieve aseptic production, the O1 website says. Upon a question of sustaining the business model, Mr. Khan said that he was optimistic in the face of established players “Our product is all natural and no other manufacturers are providing that. Nestle owns 80 percent of the global bottled mineral water share.

It is not even about competition because there is none. They provide bottled processed water and we’re aiming at educating people about the hazards of industrial-sourced water. We’re keeping our prices at bare minimum because the aim is not to run a business; it is to give people a healthier alternative”.

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