A large number of people bathing in a swimming pool in Peshawar to beat the summer heat. – Photo by Arshad Khan

Haroon ur Rasheed

While many people opt for a refreshing swim in the pool to beat the summer heat, experts warn that the high levels of chlorine used as a germicide in swimming pools, along with urine, can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritations. Additionally, it may even cause lung irritation.

The Health Hazards of Swimming Pool Water

According to experts, the combination of multiple individuals bathing in pool water and the repeated addition of chlorine (a disinfectant) to maintain cleanliness can result in eye irritation, diarrhea, stomach ache, and skin rashes when swimming in such water during summer.

Recent American research highlights the growing problem of individuals urinating in swimming pools. Apart from urine, pools also contain human waste, sweat, and skin cells, effectively turning them into vast, blue toilets. This contamination can lead to eye irritation, coughing, and a runny nose.

Understanding Chlorine

Chlorine is the most commonly used disinfectant in swimming pools. It is a naturally occurring chemical element and a fundamental component of matter. Chlorine is produced by subjecting a brine solution (water with dissolved common salt) to an electric current, a process known as electrolysis. It is added to pool water to kill bacteria, forming a weak acid called hypochlorous acid.

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Asad, the supervisor of the swimming pool at Qayyum Sports Complex, informed TNN that they frequently receive complaints about people urinating, spitting tobacco, and even wearing shoes while in the pool. Clear instructions are provided verbally and in writing to discourage such behavior.

He emphasized the importance of wearing appropriate swimwear and strictly prohibiting regular shoes in the pool area. These measures are crucial to maintaining cleanliness and hygiene before and after using the pool.

Asad further explained that chlorine is regularly used to keep the water clean, and the pool water is completely changed every week, ensuring fresh water for swimmers. The recommended chlorine dosage is approximately 50 grams per 1000 gallons of water. Excessive chlorine usage can be harmful to the human body, so the dosage should be adjusted based on weather conditions and the number of swimmers.

Furthermore, Asad emphasized that most swimmers prefer fresh water, but using sterile water instead can significantly reduce the risk of diseases. Regular addition of chlorine and daily testing for proper disinfection are essential practices to maintain pool hygiene.

Precautions to Take

Experts recommend taking certain precautions before entering the swimming pool. Increasing water intake in the morning is advised, especially for those planning to swim that day. Children who spend extended periods in chlorinated pools should consume vitamin C twice a day.

Additionally, incorporating foods rich in vitamins D, C, E, probiotics, and iodine into the diet can help protect the eyes, skin tissues, and heart from the potentially harmful effects of chlorine.

Number of Swimming Pools in Peshawar

To beat the scorching summer heat, thousands of swimmers flock to swimming pools in Peshawar. People of all ages, including children, youth, and the elderly, indulge in the joy of swimming and splashing.

To cater to swimmers’ convenience, around a dozen swimming pools have been established in hotels, educational institutions, sports complexes, and privately-owned locations in Peshawar. It is estimated that on Sundays, approximately 500 to 700 swimmers visit these pools. The entrance fee is Rs. 1000, with a monthly fee of Rs. 500.

Purposes of Swimming Pool Construction

Swimming pools serve various purposes in different settings. Educational institutions, such as high schools and universities, often include swimming pools as part of their physical education programs, recreational activities, and competitive athletics, including swimming and diving. Swimming pools are also utilized for water sports, physical therapy, lifeguard training, and even astronaut training.

Similarly, swimming pools are constructed in five-star hotels to provide bathing facilities for guests. Sports complexes feature swimming pools as a means to beat the heat, and private individuals may build pools for personal use.

Typically, swimming pools use chlorinated water and can be either heated or kept cold based on weather conditions. They are constructed using materials like concrete, natural stone, metal, plastic, composite, or fiberglass. Swimming pools come in various sizes and shapes, with the largest being Olympic-sized pools.

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