Committee confirms Dessouq water contamination

A technical committee formed by the Public Prosecution office in Dessouq to investigate the quality of drinking water in the Kafr Magar village in Dessouq, Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate found that the water does not conform with specifications and is unfit for human consumption.

The committee found the amount of ammonia in the drinking water to be 1.5 percent, while the safe level specified by ministerial decree 458/2007 is just 0.5 percent.

Abdel Salam Mohamed el-Sabbah, lawyer for those affected by the contamination of the drinking water and a resident of Kafr Magar, said the Dessouq Public Prosecution office set up the committee to take samples from the water for testing after several residents complained of fever, diarrhea and vomiting.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Abdel Aziz el-Shahawi, a member of parliament, held the head of the board of directors of the Holding Company for Drinking Water and Wastewater in Kafr el-Sheikh responsible for the contamination.

He said that reports from health authorities in Dessouq for the months of October to December 2009 demonstrated that the water was unfit for human consumption. El-Shawahawi filed a report against the company saying the company did not adopt any procedures to treat the water.

In a related development, the Hisham Mubarak Center for Human Rights and the Healthy Environment Development Association announced yesterday the findings of a report by their own fact-finding committee which they dispatched to the village.

The report describes how the Public Prosecution heard the testimony of Shaimaa Ezzat Abdel Salam, the head of the health unit in the village, who said she believes the intestinal infections suffered by children there are caused by pollution of the water.

The report also details residents’ observations that red worms have spread in the water due to high levels of ammonia and larger than normal amounts of algae.

El-Shaheed Abdalla el-Erian School experienced 60 cases of poisoning in the last week of March, according to the report, which prompted the school to request the village health unit for help. The health unit said the children suffered from an inflammation caused by bacteria.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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