Published: May 7, 2011 23:34 Updated: May 7, 2011 23:35
JEDDAH: Saudi authorities have refuted a BBC report claiming that the Zamzam well in Makkah is polluted and that drinking the holy water could cause diseases such as cancer.
Zuhair Nawab, president of Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), denied the allegation and said his organization has taken adequate measures to ensure the safety of Zamzam well and its water.
The BBC said it had asked a pilgrim to take samples from the Zamzam water taps in Makkah and the Zamzam water being sold in bottles to compare them with the water on sale illegally.
“These showed high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria, and traces of arsenic three times the permitted level, just like the illegal water, which was purchased in the UK,” the BBC said, referring to contaminated holy water sold in some UK shops.
Nawab said his organization has been responsible for monitoring the quality of Zamzam water, which not only concerns Saudi Arabia but the whole Islamic world. “Our experts monitor the condition of Zamzam on a daily basis. Every day we take three samples from the water to carry out tests and studies, which showed that it was not contaminated,” he explained. He said the newly established King Abdullah Zamzam Water Distribution Center in Makkah is equipped with advanced facilities and where bottling takes place in accordance with international standards.
“We apply modern methods for filling bottles after sterilization,” Nawab said.