Holy water: the Zam Zam well in Makkah will be bottled and distributed in 42 outlets
Officials in Madinah released a statement on plans to install a new Zam Zam water project. Historically preserved as a sacred life source in neighbouring city Makkah, the Zam Zam water well was recently under scientific investigation for arsenic contamination.
A BBC report found the water to be “unsafe for human consumption”, stating that large amounts and regular intakes could pose a serious health risk – including cancer.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen disclosed his ministry’s plans to create a Zam Zam water distribution project. This will be established near the Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque (masjid Nabawi) in Madinah, providing an easy access for Hajj pilgrims and travellers.
The automatic Zam Zam water distribution system is networked from a central warehouse, part of King Abdullah’s SR700 million (a little over £117m) Zam Zam Water Project.
“Tenders to implement the project will be opened within two weeks,” said Abdullah Al-Hussayen after opening the water distribution system.
A total of 42 water outlets have been set up for the holy water to be distributed daily. The minister told reporters it would meet the requirements of Muslims pilgrims who come for both Hajj and Umrah. Issues of the arsenic contamination and health risks however, still linger.
The water will be bottled directly from a bottling factory and routed to the main warehouse that can accommodate up to 1.5 million bottles at a time. Then, the bottles are supplied automatically to the distribution outlets which will work 24 hours daily and seven days a week.
Limited information has been disclosed at this stage about what officials will do to ensure the water is not a health risk and contamination proof. Reassuring news agencies about any hygiene concerns, the minister said, “We’ll make sure that all Zam Zam water bottles are filled and closed in a hygienic manner.”
“We have set up a special area for wrapping Zam Zam water cans and bottles for pilgrims to carry them safely while traveling to their home countries by plane,” the minister said.
The topic of sacred land and water is a passionate and sensitive one for Muslim communities. Fortunately, the new water system may ease some alarm surrounding the drinking risks and demonstrate true environmental activism from one of the holiest cities.
We hope the bottles are recyclable.
:: Arab News
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