As water is absolutely essential to life, it is morally imperative that it not be commodified as a product to be bought and sold on the market. Once this happens, water distribution itself becomes a matter of life and death. Those who have the ability to pay can access the source of life, those who don’t are denied access.
– Tony Clarke
Do you drink bottled water? Be honest. If you do, please read this.
Like cigarettes, bottled water is proof of the trance-like power of marketing, and how easily swayed we can be as consumers. This industry of branded bottles has surreptitiously invented a ‘need’ for its highly polluting, environmentally-disrespectful product that fails to solve any issues that actually exist in the world. In fact, it has only succeeded in creating more problems.
While the industry began in the mid-80s, it saw a rapid growth during the 90s, which has since continued. Its recent birth in history shows that we can certainly survive without our pricey bottles of Evian, Fiji, and Dasani; the incredible disrespect that the industry demonstrates toward both our environment and human beings shows why we need to let this craze die.
The story of bottled water
I would be remiss to omit that one of the main issues people often fail to mention in the argument against bottled water is that tap water, in most places, is not safe to drink either. One of the simplest solutions is to use a home water filter, like the sustainable Soma filter. Reducing our consumption of these branded bottles will also help people living in countries like Pakistan, by ensuring that we’re not unintentionally drinking their leeched groundwater.
The film Tapped illustrates quite clearly how we’ve been getting ‘soaked’ for years by the bottled water industry.
– Ed Begley, Jr.
There have been many fantastic, informative documentaries made over the past decade that spread awareness about this unnecessary plastic epidemic. My favorite is Tapped, which explains why the process of bottling water is so harmful to our environment. Bottled Life is another excellent investigative effort that details the corporate, capitalist corruption of water by specifically focusing on Nestle’s ongoing, immoral, bottled water-related activities. Today, I’ll focus on what Tapped has to share with us.
Tapped: why bottling water is so damaging to our environment
This film points out that the biggest marketing trick to ever occur has been bottled water: through clever advertisements, we’ve been conditioned to think that bottled water is a healthy, smart choice. There’s even a brand named Smart Water!
Water, our precious, life-sustaining resource has been turned into a billion dollar industry reserved for the privileged. The process of bottling water is astoundingly harmful to the environment: “we use approx 18 million barrels of oil to transport water, and it’s growing every year” one expert in the film somberly states.
Companies leech water from developing countries, pay almost nothing for it, and then proceed to ship that water across the world. This, in turn, creates a giant carbon footprint that could be avoided entirely. The companies finally re-sell the bottles with high price-tags to customers who already have easy access to safe drinking water at home! To top it off, the process of making the plastic, and the subsequent waste generated from billions of bottles shows how destructive the entire concept is.
Tapped goes into detail about the consequences of this packaging process, shedding light on the negative effects of drinking water contained in plastic: BPA, a molecule that our plastic water bottles are made out from, has been proven to cause an array of devastating illnesses, including obesity, breast cancer, liver disease, and brain disorders.
How to avoid bottled water
Drinking filtered water from home is one of the simplest, more affordable ways to combat unnecessary waste from plastic water bottles; reduce the environmentally harmful effects of their production; and reserve the water in developing countries for their local people.
If we want to have water-on-the-go, an easy solution is to carry a reusable bottled filled with fresh, filtered water from home. Keeping our workplaces stocked with a filter will also ensure that we have easy access to fresh, clean water at any time, without having to resort to drinking from a branded bottle.
Other ways we can help
Whenever we see advertisements featuring celebrities endorsing Smart Water, or other harmful brands, we can send letters asking them to please stop, or boycott their films. Small acts of rebellion add up: these small waves eventually accumulate into a larger tsunami of change.
People are overwhelmed looking up at the Mount Everest of environmental challenges that we face. But you put one foot in front of the other and you recognize that not everyone is Sir Edmund Hillary.
– Ed Begley, Jr.