The Dubai Municipality has launched a system for smart control and tracking of five-gallon drinking water bottles.
Dawood Al Hajiri, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said that as of 1st April, 2018, all five-gallon drinking water bottling companies and factories that produce or sell in Dubai will have to implement the smart control system to track and control these bottles.
He stated that the App will be in the experimental phase from 1st April and the experience will be evaluated in coordination with the water bottling companies and the project executing company.
Al Hajiri added that the assessment will be done under the supervision of Dubai Municipality and the Municipality will deal with the challenges arising from the application transparently, taking into account the interests of consumers and companies and ensuring fair application.
"This system includes multiple features such as a unique laser code printing on each package as a 'unique mark' that cannot be deleted or changed. A smart sticker will be placed on the lid of each bottle each time it is packaged in the production line. This label is equipped with digital technologies and secure features similar to those used to protect bank notes from forgery," he said.
Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, Assistant Director-General for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, said, "This system will enable the collection of basic data of the product during its production process. These include, but are not limited to, the date of manufacture of the plastic container and the number of times the bottle has been refilled, as well as specific water quality standards."
Al Awadhi added that thanks to the system's smart features and centralised data on the different stages of the production and bottling of drinking water bottles, the monitoring experience will be enhanced for the regulatory authorities and consumers by providing inspectors with specialised inspection devices to examine the product, which gives the inspector access to all the relevant information related to the package within seconds. This technology will facilitate and speed up the current monitoring and inspection process.
The consumer can download an app called "Water SmarTrace" on smartphones run on Apple and Android operating systems. With the app, the consumer will be able to scan the smart sticker on the water package and obtain the required confidence on the product and packaging that it meets the approved standards. In addition, some package-related data such as factory name, product brand, date and time of production will be displayed.
"The consumer can also report about any product using this app, which provides a feature to determine the cause of the problem from a checklist, as well as the possibility of taking a picture of the container with the subject of the communication and location of the message instantly. This enhances the consumer's role as an active partner in the control process," Al Awadhi added.