Friday, July 30, 2010

5 reasons not to drink bottled water

In 2009 there was sold 73 million litres of bottled water in Singapore alone, which gives roughly150 mio plastic water bottles to dispose.

And why even buy bottled water in Singapore? With the tap water being as clean as water can be, there is no good excuse to buy the bottled version.

Here are 5 reasons why NOT to buy bottled water:

1) Bottled water isn't a good value
Branded bottled water is sold from vending machines at the same price as soft drinks. Branded bottled water is essentially filtered tap water, bottled close to their distribution point. Most municipal water costs less than 1 cent per 10 liters.

2) No healthier than tap water
While public safety groups correctly point out that many municipal water systems are aging and there remain hundreds of chemical contaminants for which no standards have been established, there's very little empirical evidence that suggests bottled water is any cleaner or better for you than its tap equivalent.

3) Bottled water means garbage
The plastic used to bottle beverages is of high quality and in demand by recyclers, However, over 80 percent of plastic bottles are simply thrown away.

That assumes empty bottles actually make it to a garbage can. Plastic waste is now at such a volume that vast eddies of current-bound plastic trash now spin endlessly in the world's major oceans. This represents a great risk to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake our garbage for food.

Thanks to its slow decay rate, the vast majority of all plastics ever produced still exist — somewhere.

4) Bottled water means less attention to public systems
Many people drink bottled water because they don't like the taste of their local tap water, or because they question its safety.

This is like running around with a slow leak in your tire, topping it off every few days rather than taking it to be patched. Only the very affluent can afford to switch their water consumption to bottled sources. Once distanced from public systems, these consumers have little incentive to support bond issues and other methods of upgrading municipal water treatment.

5) The corporatization of water
Water is being called the "Blue Gold" of the 21st century. Thanks to increasing urbanization and population, shifting climates and industrial pollution, fresh water is becoming humanity's most precious resource.

Multinational corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can, and the bottled water industry is an important component in their drive to commoditize what many feel is a basic human right: the access to safe and affordable water.

What can you do?
There's a simple alternative to bottled water: buy a stainless steel thermos, and use it. Don't like the way your local tap water tastes? Inexpensive carbon filters will turn most tap water sparkling fresh at a fraction of bottled water's cost.

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