Sharjah: Groceries have been banned from selling the five-gallon water bottles unless they receive the approval from manufacturers by March 28, Sharjah Municipality officials announced.

"Upon inspection, some grocery shops were found flouting the rules and were selling tap water instead of the branded water. They did this to the save money of not having to pay the manufacturing companies," said Abdullah Al Shwaikh, a spokesperson for Sharjah Municipality.

Sharjah Municipality distributed circulars last week to all groceries informing them to stop selling the bottled water unless it is approved by the manufacturers.

"I stopped selling the water bottles. But I am waiting for the delivery man from another company to get his permission, because I buy my water from him," said a shopkeeper from Wasit grocery. "I still didn't get the permission from the manufacturing company to sell the water bottles, but I am waiting for it. I buy the bottles directly from the company, so I do not think I will have any approval," said Abdul Taleeb.

The municipality decided to implement the rule after studies revealed that it was difficult for inspectors to monitor and control the packaging process of water companies that are based in other emirates, according to Al Shwaikh.