Hyderabad: Most swimmers don’t get out of the pool to attend to nature’s call. Many, most of them children, relieve themselves inside the pool, polluting the water.
Pools across cities have no mechanism to detect the presence of urea in pool water. A certain percentage of water is consumed, knowingly or unknowingly during a swim and this can lead to diarrhoea, skin irritation, stomach upset or vomiting, say doctors.
GHMC swimming pools are open from summer to the start of winter.
When this newspaper correspondent spoke to five regular pool goers, four of them admitted to relieving themselves in the pools.
When a person steps into the pool, there is a sudden change in temperature which their body experiences. Also many consume water to keep themselves hydrated before they jump in, which is why many pee. It is not ethical to pollute the pool.
“Many, including adults and youngsters, are too lazy to get out of the pool and choose the easiest way to relieve themselves,” said Mr K Chanakya, a swimmer.
Mr John Siddique, a coach, explains why people pee in the pool. “If the water in the pool is cold, our body attempts to conserve the heat by allowing the legs and arms to become colder. The blood moves from arms and legs to stomach, chest and head in order to keep the vital organs in these areas warm and functioning properly.”
“Again, our bodies sense this extra blood in the chest and send a signal to the kidneys to get rid of the excess water. That’s why many pee in the pool.” he said.
He adds, “It is the coaches’ responsibility to educate swimmers and non-swimmers not to use the pool as a washroom, in fact, the coach should call for a toilet-cum-water break every 20 minutes. “It is very important for the pool to have sign boards educating the public not to dirty the pool, and to take showers before and after. Also, it is the duty of the parents to educate the children about this.”
No mechanism exists that can detect someone urinating in the pool. Even if samples are collected, it can detect the pH and chlorine level.
What happens when urine combines with pool chemicals? Prof. K. Srinivas, a chemistry teacher, said, “When uric acid (a compound in urine), combines with the chlorine used to disinfect pools, it produces potentially hazardous compounds called volatile disinfection byproducts. One byproduct is cyanogen chloride, a compound that is known to be toxic to many human organs if it is inhaled. Another compound, trichloramine, has been linked with lung injuries from exposure to chlorine-based disinfectants.”