Beware! You could be jumping into a swimming pool of infection

Oct 25, 2018, 08:22 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Study of residential and commercial swimming pools in Mumbai reveals 80% have contaminated water

Beware! You could be jumping into a swimming pool of infection

More and more people are taking to swimming to get fit. But a recent study has thrown up some startling stats, suggesting that may not be the way to go, at least for Mumbaikars. The study conducted on 20 residential (in buildings) and commercial (in clubs) pools in the city over six months has revealed that 80 per cent of them are contaminated — 21 bacterial isolates have been found in the water; these can lead to pneumonia, urinary tract and stomach infections, etc. The researchers have raised the need for monitoring pool management of swimming po-ols to ensure they are safe for citizens in a city like Mumbai.

Dirty data
All of the examined residential swimming pools were found contaminated, while 60 per cent of the commercial ones were found to be unhygienic. The study also highlighted the increasing resistance of bacteria in pool waters to chlorine disinfectants, emphasising on the need to search for alternative strategies. The study was done by VES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bhavan's College, and MSU, Vadodara. The findings were published in the International Journal of Research and Analytical Reviews in August.

Expert opinion
As per medical experts, water in swimming pool is exposed to physical, chemical, and microbial contamination from body fat and waste material, such as nasal secretions, saliva, sweat, faeces and urine, and body applicants like sunscreen lotions. Hair and dust from the environment can also contaminate it. "Improper cleaning can have serious implications on people's health. Other than stomach and urinary tract infections, contaminated water can lead to skin and eye infections. The most common illness due to unhygienic water is diarrhoea. Also, anyone can get E.Coli when they have a faecal incident in the water..." said Dr Gautam Bhansali, general physician at Bombay Hospital. The researchers raised the need for focus on periodic cleaning of filtration systems to remove biofilm and improve disinfection. It is also necessary to increase users' knowledge of the risks in order to promote the correct behaviours.

Deputy civic chief Kishor Kshirsagar said commercial and residential pools don't fall under BMC's purview. "Hence, there is no parameter to check the water quality. In such a situation, organisations responsible for maintenance need to be more careful," he added.

Total number of pools inspected

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