The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pollution panel for swimming pools
- Quality checks on chlorine content

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has decided to make it mandatory for all the clubs, hotels, water amusement parks and resorts to get the water of their swimming pools tested by the Pollution Control Board (PCB). The quality of water must conform to the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

“The licences of clubs, resorts and parks will not be renewed if the PCB water-testing report is not produced and if the water is not of the recreational water standard,’’ said mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

According to PCB and CMC officials, most owners of clubs and resorts do not take appropriate steps to maintain the quality of water. According to recreational water experts, the water of a swimming pool must be totally free from any bacteria and other communicable germs.

The water should be recycled daily and, if possible, on each shift, all pools must have their own chlorinating plant and the chlorine content of the water must be tested at a certain interval.

CMC officials said some clubs get the water of their swimming pools tested by different laboratories, but the CMC will not accept such a report. “The PCB has a state-of-the-art laboratory, water experts and eminent bacteriologists. Besides, it is a government concern. So, we shall accept only the PCB report. Moreover, testing of recreation water is not the same as other water. It has to be tested thoroughly. A private laboratory does not have such facilities,’’ said CMC chief engineer Dibyendu Roy Chowdhury.

“I have seen a person with skin infection swimming along with children in an amusement park. There could be other germs and there is every possibility of these causing harm to others. If we do not initiate a move to check this, the situation will spin out of control,’’ the mayor said.

As to College Square, Hedua and Rabindra Sarobar, Mukherjee said: “There is no need to test the quality of water there. Without any test, it can be said that the water is highly polluted and not at all fit for swimming. I know that many children who swim there suffer from various diseases. Now the situation will have to be changed.’’

The civic chief engineer said the CMC has already started preparing a list of clubs, resorts, hotels and amusement parks which have swimming pools.

A meeting will be convened shortly with the owners to make them aware of the CMC decision. The mayor and PCB officials will be present there to brief them about the dos and don’ts.

PCB member-secretary Shyamal Sarkar said recreation water must be given the same importance as drinking water. The work will be jointly handled by the CMC and the PCB.

“Many swimming pools have come up in the city and its fringe areas. Besides, many clubs provide training in swimming to children. All the organisations must take necessary steps to maintain the water quality as per norms,’’ Sarkar said.

The CMC, in association with the PCB, will also prepare a guidebook for owners of swimming pools on how to maintain recreation water. A separate guidebook will be made for users.

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