It’s been reported recently that many people in Tacloban City have been suffering from stomach problems coupled with vomiting and diarrhea. There have been casualties as a result, and many got sick, battling dehydration and other complications.

This happened at a time when water pipes are being laid along highways and thoroughfares. The ongoing work is visibly seen as certain concrete roadsides are being broken by heavy equipment to enable workers to install the pipes. They even have portable and movable stand posts interconnected by a long yellow ribbon to cordon off the areas under repair.

Does this pipe-laying operation of the Prime Water (crime water to some) have to do with the cholera outbreak that’s occurring particularly in Tacloban City? It’s hard to tell; we don’t have tangible proofs and data that could establish the connection. But we are free to suspect and to do our own analysis regarding this matter. We have the right as consumers to demand quality products and services.

Let’s try these out here. It cannot be denied that many of these dug-up roadsides are submerged in filthy mud waters, which they share with drainage canals. These muddy waters are a mixture of wastes that come from residential houses and commercial establishments, not to mention the wastes of insects or animals like cockroaches and rats that help stain these portions. These waters, then, are home to millions or perhaps billions of germs, bacteria, viruses, etc.

Now, when the water pipes are laid, they are usually open on both ends. Workers do not care if these pipes will take in the filthy mud water when laid down. The pipes’ open ends do not have some kind of seal that could prevent dirty water from getting in. So before and after these ends are fitted together to form a long line of pipes, mud water is already inside. And though the clean water from the source would already start flowing through, the dirty water in those pipes will merely mix with the clean water, making the latter unfit for human consumption.

Make no mistake: a drop of bacteria-laden water could contaminate barrels of water. How much more if the contaminants from the filthy waters are plentiful? It is for this reason, then, that many people suspect this cholera outbreak resulted from the consumption of water from the pipelines laid. For when there was no pipe-laying activity yet, no such outbreak came.

Perhaps what the Prime Water management can do is instruct their pipe-laying workers to observe proper handling of pipes prior to installation by making sure they do not submerge in dirty drainage water, and that the latter never gets into the pipes. And if ever dirty water has gotten in, they should have means and procedures of flushing them out in such a way that consumers will not be able to drink them.
Remember, we are fighting microscopic enemies here, invisible to our naked eyes.