The number of people buying bottled water for drinking and cooking is on the rise, as proved by the increasing number of water purification and filtering shops in urban areas.

The reasons more Jordanians resort to bottled water have more to do with myth than with reality, for, if there are concerns about tap water, it was not established that the alternatives are much better, according to experts. They say that most of our bottled water is merely tap water that undergoes a filtering process of sorts.

Most people assume that the more filtering the better, which is not true in all cases. Heavy filtering strips water of minerals that exist in unpolluted, untreated natural water and that are necessary for the body’s well-being.

At the same time, the filtering process should be monitored by the authorities in a consistent manner. And that is not all authorities have to do. They have to ensure the water quality is maintained until it reaches the end consumer, something that is often lacking.

It is common, around the country, to see bottled water – as well as food supplies, but that is another issue – “stored” in the sun in front of shops. This contravenes health standards and concerned authorities should not allow such a practice, knowing that bottled water, just as food supplies, should not be transported or kept under the sun. It is being said that bottled water left in the sun or exposed to heat poses a health risk, including inducing cancer.

Although claims that water in plastic bottles can be carcinogenic as a result of exposure to the sun are not scientifically substantiated, there is no need to take such risks.

It is the right of the public to get clean drinking water and it is the duty of the authorities to ensure that this right is met.

Authorities insist that tap water is perfectly safe since it undergoes various types of treatment and is repeatedly tested, including for physical and chemical properties. They say that tap water is safe, as it undergoes various types of tests to check its physical and chemical properties.

But until tap water wins public confidence, authorities have to ensure that bottled water meets the standards for bottling, transportation and storage.