Virology & Mycology

Virology & Mycology
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0517

+44 1223 790975


The Quality of Ornamental Water within Shopping Malls in the United Arab Emirates

Fatema Saeed Al Rumaithi and Fatme Al Anouti

Ornamental water fountains in shopping malls are mainly built for decorative purposes however; they might fail to meet the required standards set to ensure public health safety. Microbial contamination of indoor ornamental water could pose a serious potential risk to human health, particularly children and the elderly who could get infected by either direct contact or aerosol inhalation. Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is famous for its exquisite shopping malls that are routinely monitored and inspected for cleanliness, there are currently no unified standard regulations regarding microbial risk assessment for ornamental water. Cleaning and disinfection of the water is the responsibility of the mall management that resorts to a certified maintenance company which runs its own quality testing and follows its own guidelines. The objective of this study is to examine water quality from indoor ornamental fountains, and compare the different guidelines implemented with regards to microbial quality assurance and public safety. A time-series experimental design was utilized. Three main shopping malls within Abu Dhabi city were randomly selected for the study. Sampling and collection of biofilm swabs from water fountains and baseline sources were performed before and after cleaning in each mall. Sterilized containers where used to collect the water samples, and sterilized gloves where used throughout the whole process to prevent contaminating the water samples or the water feature. For examining the microbiological indicators of water quality, all samples were analyzed by the membrane filtration method and cultured on selective/differential media to determine total coliform count and other more specific bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. The results of this study showed significant differences in the microbial profiles of ornamental water in the three malls with higher growth (CFU/100 ml) in 2 of the 3 of the decorative features examined. Moreover, the results showed differences between the results before and after the cleaning of the feature. Although, the average microbial growth from samples per each mall was within the limits for public health safety, this study emphasizes the important need for establishing proper guidelines for ornamental water within indoor malls in Abu Dhabi to ensure public safety at all times.