India is facing an acute water crisis presently, with water contamination and water scarcity fast becoming the country's number one problem. In fact, contamination of drinking water has been identified as a critical public health issue by the World Health Organisation (WHO), causing more than 80 per cent of all diseases. To add to this, during monsoons, the ratio of people falling sick increases evidently. While the season brings with it a host of ailments, immunity levels are the lowest during this time, making people more vulnerable to infections. Besides, the most common diseases associated with the season, like common cold attacks and viral fevers, people are exposed to several intestinal infections leading to gastroenteritis, typhoid, malaria, dengue and hepatitis, due to intake of unhygienic and infected food and water.
Needless to say, water constitutes a major portion of the human body. It also acts as a cleansing agent and helps us in carrying out our daily tasks with ease, in a variety of ways. Hence, drinking and using pure water has a major impact in our body's functioning. While the importance of clean water cannot be over emphasised, contaminated or impure water proves to be equally harmful for us. To tackle this problem, Eureka Forbes, an Indian health and hygiene company and pioneer in water purification, has initiated an innovative nationwide campaign by setting up over 100 unique water testing labs, as a continuous process, known as 'Paani ka Doctor Clinics', in over 25 cities across India in the states of Delhi, Punjab, UP, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.The company plans to expand these clinics across 150 towns and cities by 2016 which includes cities like Varanasi, Dehradun, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Surat, Rourkela, Bhubaneshwar, Patna, Raipur, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai, Ludhiana, Allahabad, Baroda, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Kolhapur, Vellore, Cochin and Calicut.
The clinics have been opened in Tier II and III cities, apart from the metros. Also noteworthy is the fact that around 10,000 people, so far, have visited these clinics. In Delhi alone, the brand has taken to setting up these clinics across Peeragarhi metro station, Patel Nagar metro station, Arjangarh metro station, Pratap Nagar metro station, Sarojini Nagar and Ram Nagar, Shahdara.
To understand the impact of water contamination and key issues with drinking water in India, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment examined over 2900 water samples in Mumbai. The findings revealed the TDS (Total Dissolved Salts) levels to be varying between 40-900 mg/l, which stands beyond permissible levels. It also revealed presence of 74 per cent of coliform bacteria in drinking water. While coliform in drinking water may not necessarily make one ill, it increases the chances of presence of other disease-causing organisms in water, which could be exceedingly fatal in nature.
To address this grave issue, Eureka Forbes has introduced exclusive health zones, to allow people to test their water quality and apprehend its health quotient. While most people understand the importance of drinking safe and pure water, lack of awareness about the right purification method often leads to health problems. For instance, RO is meant to remove certain heavy metals and contaminants which are found in 'few' locations, not all. Moreover, if one uses RO water purification in areas where it is not required, then it leads not only to 'de-mineralised water', but also adds to water wastage (to purify every one glass of drinking water, RO wastes seven to eight glasses).
Eureka Forbes' certified in-house water specialists and experts stationed at these clinics will examine the water and provide beneficial inputs, and determine suitable products for customers. Towards this end, 1000 such specialists and experts (approximately) have been roped in by the company. Moreover, these specialists will showcase the first-of-its kind, seven-step process designed to check water quality through an interactive mobile application. The mobile application also helps educate consumers about the health impact of each contaminant, and the benefits of consuming healthy water. At the end of the process, the Dr. Aquaguard application recommends the best-suited water purifier, also giving an option to the consumer to purchase the product either online or offline from the certified water specialist. This mobile application is currently available on Android. However, it is available presently only with the Eureka Forbes' sales representatives who visit your place and demonstrate the seven-step process.
The water is examined on the presence of varying aspects, including TDS, turbidity, harmful new-age contaminants like pesticides and other heavy metals, organic chemicals, chlorine and microbial growth. This will help educate consumers about the health impact of each contaminant, and the benefits of consuming healthy water, which is not only able to retain essential minerals and nutrients, but also absorbs the goodness in water.