The presence of coliform bacteria has been detected in the water supply of 87% of hotels and restaurants in six districts of Barisal division, according to officials.The Barisal office of the Directorate of Environment served notices on 375 hotels and restaurants to ensure pure drinking water, after finding traces of the bacteria in their water supply.
Coliform bacteria exist naturally in animals, soil, plants and water. Although the microbes are usually benign, their presence in food or water means contamination by other harmful parasites or pathogens that can cause diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery, jaundice, cholera, urinary infections or respiratory problems.Sukumar Biswas, director of DoE Barisal office, said water samples were collected during April-June from 431 hotels and restaurants in various towns of the division, including Kalapara and Kuakata tourist zones.
After completing the testing on July 15, the DoE found traces of coliform in the samples of 375 hotels and restaurants. The samples of the remaining 56 establishments also contained the bacteria, but at a tolerable level.“When coliform is detected, repairs or modifications to the water system are required. So we served notices on the affected hotels and restaurants to do that as early as possible,” Biswas said. Testing for the bacteria is the only reliable way of knowing if the water is safe, an expert said.“You cannot tell by the look, taste, or smell of the water if it contains disease-causing organisms,” said Dr Prodip Kumar Banik, a pathologist at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. If coliform is present in drinking water, the risk of contacting a water-borne disease increases, said Dr Mizanur Rahman, a former resident medical officer of Barisal general hospital.They advised boiling and retesting of the contaminated water to remove the bacteria.