Bottled water has now become one of the most popular (and fashionable in some countries) beverages consumed in many parts of the world, in spite of the fact that most people worldwide are provided with clean and safe water for drinking by their local water authority.
Bottled water companies claim that contamination of the mains water supply poses a threat to normal drinking water from the tap and so it is better to purify the water, bottle it, and sell it to the consumer.
Environmentalists claim this is unnecessary and actually causes more harm to the environment.
So is bottled water a blessing or an ill?
Here are some facts about bottled water - you can decide for yourself.
It is convenient: bottled water is totally portable so you can take it with you wherever you go. You can seal it after opening it and use it as required. You can take it places you would not normally have access to tap drinking water such as outside, in your car or on public transport.
In some countries bottled water may be healthier to drink than normal tap water because of contamination in the mains water supply.
You can store bottled water: in case of emergencies such as floods or other natural disasters which can often affect the quality or availability of mains water supplies.
On a global level, we consume approximately 53 billion gallons of bottled water which has given rise to an enormous bottled water industry. This in return provides thousands of people with jobs in many different countries around the world; in production and transportation and other areas.
The Bad …
Bottled water costs more than normal tap water oe even filtered and purified water at home.
It is estimated that 40% of all bottled water consumed actually originates from normal tap water or the local municipal water supply and is simply ’treated’ and bottled.
Bottled water is subject to fewer quality tests than normal tap water. For example: most bottled water does not require testing for the e.coli bacteria. In fact bottled water can be distributed even if it doesn’t meet the same quality requirements as normal tap water.
And The Ugly …
Bottled water creates a lot of waste during the process of production. Globally, the production of the plastic bottles used to contain bottled water requires millions of barrels of oil to produce them. In addition, the bottle production process is also responsible for releasing toxic compounds into the environment. It also requires about three times the amount of normal water to produce one bottle of water.
The transportation of bottled water from production plants to points of sale such as supermarkets, restaurants and small shops involves producing environmentally damaging emissions such as CO2 from trucks.
Empty plastic bottles, which are rarely recycled after consumption, are now a prime source of worldwide pollution. The 67 million plastic water bottles thrown away every day, in the U.S. alone contribute to this global ‘bottled water pollution’ problem.