Intro:Not only does bottled water cost us thousand times more than water from our faucet at home, it’s not safer or cleaner than tap water, and its regular consumption is linked with health problems
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More than U.S. $100 billion is spent every year on bottled water globally. In many cities in developing countries where tap water is not considered a safe source, bottled water becomes a necessary, and somewhat trusted option.
|There are 50 billion water bottles consumed every year, about 30 billion of them in the US|
So, if you’re one among those who’ve been consuming bottled water, thinking that you’ve been making a healthy choice, it’s time to think again as, the choice you’ve made reflects that as a consumer, you’ve remained ignored by choice or otherwise to the ways the market is influencing your knowledge, and is directing you to make choices that are profitable to them, but are not so healthy for you.
From bottled water, to vitamin water and alkaline water, everything is available in market for consumers. Companies sell all these types on the pretext of health benefits, and do not aware people about the side effects of consuming this water for a long term.
|Globally some 53 billion gallons of bottled water are consumed creating a $63 billion dollar industry. 40% of this bottled water is actually taken from municipal water sources or tap water|
The idea is not to fear you, but it is important for you to know that 40 percent of bottled water is just bottled tap water, which may or may not have received additional filtration, and should raise an alarm.
To dismay not only bottled water but drinking water from plastic bottles is not such a good idea.
Plastic bottles contain a chemical called bisphenol A or BPA, which is a synthetic hormone disruptor that has been linked to serious health problems such as:
• Learning and behavioral problems
• Altered immune system function
• Prostate and breast cancer
• Risk of obesity
• Early puberty in both genders
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) laboratory 2003 report revealed after analysing bottled water samples from Mumbai and Delhi that packaged water can be far more lethal than one can imagine. The samples collected from the cities contained a deadly cocktail of pesticide residues, in levels far exceeding the standards specified as safe for drinking water. And the quantities of toxins found in these samples was enough to cause cancer, liver and kidney damage, disorders of the nervous system, birth defects, and disruption of the immune system if consumed over a long term.
After the report was made public, Indian government decided to notify new norms for pesticide residues in bottled water. The norms state that pesticide residues considered individually should not be more than 0.0001 mg/litre while total pesticide residues were capped at not more than 0.0005 mg/litre.
Bottled water companies gain high profits by drawing water from public water sources, putting it in plastic containers, and reselling it at a higher price than the regular tap. Infact it has been reported that groundwater pumping by bottled-water companies draws heavily on underground aquifers and harms watersheds. Recently Delhi’s pollution watchdog asked Bisleri’s packaged drinking water manufacturing plant in west Delhi to shut shop immediately. According to them, the plant has been drawing 3.31 lakh litres (quantity sufficient to meet the daily requirements of 2,500 people) of groundwater every day without requisite approval.
Sushmita Sengupta, Deputy Programme Manager, water programme with CSE said, “Bottled water companies depend heavily on groundwater. Most of the times companies extract groundwater without any groundwater recharge scheme in place. Many a time’s this excessive extraction causes the concentration of pollutants to increase in water, and the groundwater gets affected by increased concentration of Magnesium/Calcium (which makes the water hard). If there is unimproved sanitation near extraction wells (for example leaking sewage lines), you find increased concentration of nitrates in groundwater.
She added, “People move towards bottled water to get clean water (a peculiar mindset). They do not think the probable source of this water. However, if we can think of water sources which will give us clean water and make people aware of it — then our dependence on bottled water will come down. The best possible way is rainwater harvesting. It can help store clean rainwater for drinking.”
|How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?|
The Norm: Six to eight glasses
Rule of thumb: You should be drinking enough water to turn your urine a light-coloured yellow. It is advisable to increase your water intake as needed
Use Distilled Water with Caution
Some health conscious people have been misled into believing that distilled water is healthy for them. But this is not true. It can be consumed for a brief time for the purpose of detoxification, as it can help remove toxins from your body, however, drinking it for a long term will only invite health problems.
One needs to know that distilled water is that which is boiled and evaporated away from its dissolved minerals. Because it is acidic in nature when it is consumed it tries to balance itself by drawing out minerals from your body, and for the same reasons, it draws out contaminants (volatile organic compounds, like disinfection byproducts) that are thousands of times as toxic as chlorine from the container it's stored in. And this causes health problems
The growing use of alkaline water is not only emerging as a threat in developing countries, it is also imposing major health changes in the developed world too.
If you consume alkaline water because it is being promoted by companies as the wonder water that is required to discharge the waste products and remove harmful acidic toxins (the main reason for Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension, Atopic dermatitis and etc.) in the body, it requires rethenking.
Though some people experience an initial “high”- that can be attributed to detoxification- when they start drinking alkaline water. It should be remembered that detoxification is the only benefit of alkaline water that lasts only for a week or two. And that the long-term use of alkaline or ionized water can interfere with your body's natural digestive process by reducing the acid needed to properly break down and absorb food: Can upset your body's good bacteria, and can make you prone to parasitic infection, ulcers and malabsorption.
Impact on Environment
According to Elizabeth Royte's 2008 book Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. Bottled water is a drain on the environment: The U.S. public goes through about 50 billion water bottles a year, and most of those plastic containers are not recycled.
Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold burns fossil fuels, and gives off greenhouse gases. In developing countries where the process of recycling such materials is still at the bottom level, these plastic bottles are burnt.
Through the burning of these plastic bottles carbon dioxides and other dangerous gasses are released to the atmosphere. Global warming is an aftermath of such act, as we all know that, these gasses eat up the ozone layer that protects us from the scorching heat of the sun.
Water Bottle Bans
The sale and consumption of bottled water is still on the rise, certain policymakers and activists have taken steps to reduce it and encourage people to drink tap. In September 2009, the Australian city of Bundanoon became the first city in the world to completely ban bottled water from its stores' shelves, followed by U.S. cities San Francisco and Seattle, which no longer buy water for city use, and Chicago has introduced a five-cent tax on each bottle.
Remains to be seen is will India follow them?
-Dr Deepshikha Chauhan