The swimming pools of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are the best ones in the city. This is an observation made by Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) founder-president Purushottam Sharma.
The Rashtriya Life Saving Society is an NGO working for safe swimming environments in the city. Sharma said that when it came to safety measures and water quality, PMC swimming pools were in better condition than private swimming pools at residential societies, which lack trained lifeguards and have poor water quality.
“PMC-built swimming pools have trained and sufficient lifeguards,” Sharma said. “The only this is, they (PMC officials) take time to work on the improvements that we suggest from time to time.”
He added that for a swimming pool to qualify as one of the best, it also needed to have good water quality, and on this front PMC pools were generally found to be satisfactory.
The issue of safety of PMC pools came in focus around 12 years ago, when a 14-year old boy drowned in the Balgandharva swimming pool, which was then run by the PMC. It was the second incident of drowning in a PMC pool in the same year.
From then, all PMC pools undergo strict checking by the society.
“We made de rigueur a concept called breathing time, where after finishing the swimming session, we empty the tank and then lifeguards take a round of the whole tank before the next session starts,” Sharma said.
In summer, many people, especially children, are attracted to swimming pools to beat the heat and to pursue a healthy activity during the holidays.
While private swimming tanks are unaffordable for many, residential pools have been found to generally unsafe.
“The PMC pools cost Rs 20 for an hour, so these are affordable for all,” Sharma said.
PMC pools also do not waste water, an important concern in these days of water crisis in the city.
“We have filtration plants that take two hours to purify water, which means we avoid wastage of the water in the summer.
So, in a way, we reuse the water instead of replacing the entire water in the tank,” Head of Water Deparment V G Kulkarni said.
How to choose a swimming pool
If you are sending your child for a swim, make sure of the following things:
>> The pool should have clean water. A simple test is to see if you can see the bottom of the pool through the water. If the water is green and opaque, avoid the pool at all costs
>> Ensure your child is not alone and is paired with a “buddy”, or another child
>> The pool should have standard safety equipment like lifebuoys, ropes, poles and first aid box.
>> The pool guard should be trained, informed and alert.
>> In case a child is a weak swimmer or learning to swim, stay back and supervise or arrange for adequate supervision
>> Please react if the child is overdue by even 30 minutes