Bottled Water Why
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Bottled Water ?????
Research commissioned by a Swiss-based conservation group indicates that bottled water is often no healthier or safer to drink than tap water.
The World Wide Fund for Nature argues strongly that bottled water is not only environmentally unfriendly but also a waste of money
The research by the University of Geneva shows that bottled water sells for up to 1,000 times the price of tap water, but that the quality is often no better.
In 50% of cases the only difference is that bottled water has added minerals and salts, which do not actually mean the water is healthier.
Furthermore, some bottled waters are exactly the same standard as tap water, without being as energy efficient. Other reports suggest that some bottled water is likly to be responsible for upto 12% of food poisoning cases due to age and storage in sun light or under strip lighting promoting multiplication of bacteria already in the container from bottling.
Tap water comes from underground pipes, while the manufacture, distribution and disposal of bottled water requires much more energy and fuel.
While the WWF does acknowledge that bottled water is generally safer in areas where tap water is contaminated, it says boiling or filtering local water is a cheaper and more sustainable alternative.
The long-term solution, it argues, is to clean up municipal water supplies.
But in the meantime, the conservationists are fighting an uphill battle.
The bottled water market is booming. It is the fastest growing drinks industry in the world and shows no signs of drying up.
In a supermarket survey, the Food Commission has found bottled water that has travelled more than 10,000 miles (16,000km) to reach UK consumers.
The distance that food travels is growing ever longer, with food products and ingredients shipped, flown and trucked to supermarket shelves. Every extra mile uses more fossil fuel and adds more carbon dioxide emissions to our national total - emissions that boost the UK\'s contribution to climate change.
The Food Commission has often criticised government and retailers for failing to tackle food miles (the distance that food travels). Often, foods that have been transported for long distances could have been grown more locally, whether in the UK or in nearby countries.
As well as contributing to climate change, the increasing globalisation of the food trade also leads to new food safety concerns, such as the spread of avian flu from Asia and contaminated food products that are almost impossible to trace.
Although bottled water is unlikely to cause food safety concerns, transporting water halfway across the world is surely the most ludicrous use of fossil fuels when water is plentiful in the UK. In October, the UK government\'s scientific advisor said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already represent a danger and that the world had to adapt to prepare for significant changes ahead, and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Curbing greenhouse gas emissions will involve everyone - industry and consumers - taking action to reduce energy and fuel use. Yet UK supermarkets such as Waitrose and Fresh & Wild stock Fijian water that boasts that its source is \'separated by over 2,500 kilometres of the open Pacific from the nearest continent.\' The water is bottled at source in Fiji - about 10,000 miles from mainland Europe - and transported to the UK.
Most food retailers that were surveyed stocked the same types of bottled water - mainly waters from Scotland, Derbyshire, Wales and France.
Evian and Vittel were the most commonly available French waters. Vittel travels approximately 400 miles (645 km) to reach the UK, and Evian travels approximately 460 miles (740 km).
The Scottish bottled waters, whilst from our own mainland, travel a similar distance to those sourced in France - typically 400 miles (645 km).
The closest to London in all the waters that were surveyed was Cotswold Spring Water, available in Asda, and bottled in Bath - about 100 miles (175 km).
All of these bottled waters mean extra trucks on the road, extra fuel use and extra carbon dioxide emissions, when Londoners could simply have turned on their taps!
Some waters also came from further afield than the UK or Europe, with one water from a small London retailer coming from Canada and one water coming over 10,000 miles from Fiji.
The trade in bottled water doesn\'t go in one way either. In 1998 the UK imported £65 million of bottled water, and exported £5.7 million.
Investigations also revealed the absurd extent to which we now believe that bottled water is better than tap water.
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