Authors: Aroh K. N, Eze E. M, Ukaji D, Wachuku C, Gobo A. E, Abbe S. D, Teme S. C, Igoni A. H
80 sachet water products from 10 different brands were sampled in four study locations in Aba and Port Harcourt (PH) cities respectively. Sampling was carried out by stratified simple random techniques. The products were bacteriologically assessed weekly for 12 months between January and December, 2008. Samples were exposed to sunlight (SL) and room temperature (RT) and analysis done using membrane filter (MF) procedures for coliform bacteria enumeration. Public survey to determine the possible effect of sachet water consumption on socio-economic, health and environmental life of residents was also conducted. Results revealed absence of coliform organisms within the first and second week respectively for SL and RT samples. When compared with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for potability, all the RT samples analyzed in Aba were within the recommended (0 to 4 cfu/ 100 ml) excellent quality grading in the 4th week while 25% of similar parameter treatment marginally exceeded the limit in PH within the same period. The coliform bacteria level for SL exposed samples in Aba for 3rd week analysis showed an appreciable increase (16.7%) over the value (8.3%) recorded in Port Harcourt (PH) within the same period. In the 4th week, over 91.7% of the SL exposed samples were observed to have exceeded the WHO limit for excellent potable water quality in the two cities. There is growing knowledge by city dwellers that sachet water consumption and trade is responsible for a number of health related disorders ranging from waterborne infections (such as diarrhoea and gastroenteritis) to huge environmental nuisance created by the non biodegradable nature of littered sachet water nylons. The study therefore recommends adequate chemical treatment of source water, shelf-life specification on the sachet water and establishment of recycling plants to manage the growing volume of used sachet water nylons and other plastic materials littering our streets and market places. Key words: Sachet water nylon, coliform, health, environmental.