Hello friends, still gulping those panipuris (golgappa, gupchup) at the road side? Pouring in those lemon sodas and road side juices? Well, be careful. The typical problem in the cities during summer is that drinking water becomes scarce and hence there is a chance that ‘not so healthy’ water is used in all the items mentioned above, no matter what the vendor swears by for his/her food quality.
I live in Hyderabad and everyone who lives in or knows about this city also knows about the permanent water problem here. There are areas I know where people rely on water tankers round the year. There are many other cities and towns all over India with similar problem. Just think, in such a situation where would a road side vendor get good quality water for free? If he has to pay for it then either he’ll increase the price of his items or will use whatever water is available to him (quality goes for a toss) or even both if the person is greedy. Customers have a reputation of not accepting increased prices easily, even if there is a strong reason behind it, so ultimately the good vendor who was buying good quality water and charging little more for it, would be forced to go back to price his items lower, and to cut cost would resort to malicious practices.
Then there is another reason too, the old or damaged water supply pipe lines. Since the water supply and sewage lines run parallel, any damage or leakages in them would mix sewage with the water being supplied. So make sure to filter/purify the supplied water too before consumption. The pipeline supplied water may have some bleaching powder in order to kill any bacteria/germs, but their dead bodies are still there in the water. And I don’t find much data on what those dead bodies could do after going into our bodies. So be careful.
How can I forget the summer holidays when kids choose to go swimming as a holiday activity. Do you think the water in the swimming pool is replaced with fresh water everyday? No way, especially keeping the cost of water and its transport to the pool in mind. I have spoken to people in some of the pools and they have confirmed that too. If it’s a good quality swimming pool then they might have engaged personnel to clean visible dirt from the water continuously and could be treating the water daily to purify it, but they maybe charging higher fees to maintain the quality. However in most common pools where the usage charges are pretty low, the purification process may not be the same. People and especially kids swallow quite some water from the pool while swimming. It can cause dangerous infections. So take care.
Here are some of the health problems that could arise by consuming food items prepared with contaminated water:
Don’t they sound dangerous from their names in first place? There is a variant of medicine resistant E-Coli virus too out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against street food or their vendors, I binge on street food too, but I would better control my cravings when there is chance of consuming unhealthy food than getting sick and spending lots of money in hospitals. Some of the Hepatitis variants are even incurable. Naturally summer is the time when water contamination is very much possible and so is the use of contaminated water. And customers don’t have a way to find out how the food is prepared; so better be safe than sorry.
Do carry your own water bottle(s). If you must drink water outside then prefer fresh coconut water.
If you must drink juice outside, make sure the utensils used are hygienic and don’t use ice. Who knows, that ice might have been made of impure water.
Be safe, be happy.