Why Is Bottled Water Deadly For The Environment?

Posted by Yatmanyu Rawat in Environment
December 20, 2017

“How can bottled water be harmful?”
“C’mon, aren’t we even allowed to drink water?”
“How can bottled water be dangerous? Isn’t water natural?”

Every time I stop someone from drinking bottled water, these are the questions that I am usually asked back. At first, the concept of bottled water wouldn’t appear so harmful, except for the usual plastic usage to make the bottles. But as we dig in, we’ll find out the disastrous impact of  packaged water on the environment.

Here are five ways in which bottled water affects the environment:

1. Commercialization Of Water

Water is a natural resource and a natural resource is something that belongs to everyone. But these days, bottled water has turned into a huge money-making empire. The commercialization of water has not only resulted in the rise of drinking water expenses but has also contributed in the exploitation of water resources.

2. Effect On Water Level

All of this bottled water is pumped out from various lakes, rivers and other water resources. These water companies pump out thousands of liters of water from these water bodies which result in the decline of their water levels, therefore, turning them into mud-flats. It also affects the marine life present in that particular water resource and the lives of local people are affected to a great extent, as their water availability declines. The most recent impact of this problem was seen in the state of Michigan, USA. Nestle, which owns 70 water brands across the world, started pumping out water from the water streams of Michigan, resulting in the decline of water levels. It resulted in the local people revolting against the company to stop it’s functioning in Michigan. A legal battle against Nestle was started by the residents of Michigan and is still going on.

3. It’s Not Necessarily Safer Than Tap Water

Most people choose bottled water over tap water, thinking that it’s safer. A study was conducted by a leading organisation on more than a hundred bottled water brands, and found out that many samples contained arsenic in them, some had organic chemicals in them, and some had dangerous bacteria in them. This was the case in one-third of the samples. In fact, bottled water is much less regulated than tap water. Plus, the claims of the companies that the water they use comes from the mountains or glaciers was a lie as they had just packaged the ground water and sold it as glacier water.

4. Generation Of Plastic

Packaged water not only puts high amount of pressure on the natural water resources, but also generates high level of plastic that proves to be harmful for the environment. In a report, it was estimated that about a million plastic bottles are bought every minute in the world and the annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to reach half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments. More than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were used in making new bottles. The other bottles ended up being dumped into landfills and ocean. It is being said that a lot of plastic bottles are being dumped into the ocean and by 2050, the weight of these water bottles in the ocean is

5. Corrupt Use Of Political Influence By Water Corporations

It shouldn’t be surprising to know that water giants like Suez and Vivendi have quite a political influence. President of world water council who organises all the forums and glorifies the multinationals is none other than the president of Marseilles water company, owned 50%-50% by Vivendi and Suez. Plus, Michel Camdessus, the former president of the IMF has as his two most important advisors, the two vice Presidents of Vivendi and Suez. These facts are enough to to understand that the political system is corrupt and influenced by these water giants. It is becoming impossible to go against these water corporations as they have wide reach in the political scenarios all over the world.

So, the question is, what can be done?

For this problem, there are numerous solutions in different sectors. We can start with the improvement of our water purification systems run by the government. Governments should also start monitoring the amount of water that is being pumped out by private organisations, and should keep a check on the marine life which exists in that particular region.

One of the most important ways to deal with this problem is to educate people about the minimal differences in the tap water and packaged water. They need to be educated about how the packaged water is laced with chemicals and other substances, and the particular fact that packaged water is not necessarily healthy than tap water. The government should also fine the brands claiming to be mountain or glacier water, when they’re nothing more than packaged tap water.

The plastic generation can be stopped by reducing the packaged water consumption, as well as, more sufficient ways should be practiced in the recycling of these plastic bottles. This will really help in reducing the level of plastic in the ocean, and other water bodies, and will give a boost to the population of marine life that is under severe threat. No matter how powerful these private water industries are, if we put an end to the consumption of packaged water, we will be able to make a huge impact on saving planet earth.

People say that individual effort doesn’t matter but in this case, every effort matters. Once everyone starts boycotting bottled water, these water resources will get a relief from the atrocities of water corporations. Marine life will thrive, oceans will become cleaner, money will be saved and at last, society will come together to save the planet.

All right folks, thanks for reading and I’ll post from time to time. Don’t just forget about all this, and start drinking bottled water again.