Monday, 15 August 2005

Water, water every where, and only in a bottle to drink?

The great con' at the begining of the 21st century, and one of the worst enviromental messes, is water. While a huge proportion of the world have no access to clean drinking water, almost the entire delevoped world, flushes much of its clean drinking water down lavatories, or washes in it, and then buys water in glass or plastic bottles to drink. The latter is shipped around the world, using vast amounts of energy, conferring no measurable benefits (other than psychological ones) on the consumers. It is one of the world's largest and most profitable industries.

Howls of protests from the drinkers of bottled water. Claims that they really can tell the difference. To which I retort "Bunkum".

I have on occasion resorted to blind tastings. If the consumer is presented with a wide range of bottled and tap waters, it is doubtful if more than an insignificant number of them can identify the various waters. What I have found is that fresh tap water, when it is highly chlorinated can be recognised -- but let it stand, and the chlorine goes -- and that a few highly mineralised waters have a distinctive taste. But most bottled water is no more mineralised than tap water. In fact, the majority of bottled waters have no taste, and some indeed come from the same sources as tap water. The most important factor in taste seems to be temperature. Give a person chilled tap water, and they will probably like it better than luke-warm bottled water.

But it is the chattering classes, so often environmentally aware, that are the most prone and gullible in the water market. Just as they are the most likely to buy homeopathic medicines -- another form of bottled water with no quantifiable differences that distinguish it from distilled water.

If those who buy bottled water, were to give the equivalent amount to conservation of wildlerness (which often plays a very significant role in protecting watersheds, and water supplies), think how much land we could save.

The average European now drinks over 17 cases of bottled water a year, and the average cost of that water, per litre, is around the same, or more than petrol!

The following website shows just how we're all being led by the marketting:

And this one gives some more sources

So next time you drink bottled water, why not donate the equivalent amount to the WLT, and think how much more good you are doing for the planet

1 comment:

  1. There was a tv programme a while ago - I've forgotten what it was called and who presented it - where a guy went out in the street trying to sell glasses of tap-water. Obviously nobody wanted to buy it. He then developed a nice name and logo, packaged the same water in pretty bottles and tried again - and this time people happily parted with their money even though he didn't make it a secret that the water was from his own tap...