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article imageBottled Water Has High Environmental Costs

By Chris V. Thangham     May 11, 2007 in Environment
Bottled water may seem to be pure and safe but it has high environmental costs, says Worldwatch Institute. Packaging and shipping soaks up energy, and many of the plastic bottles are not recycled.
Bottled water, the world's fastest growing beverage, carries a heavy environmental cost, adding plastic to landfills and putting pressure on natural springs, the author of a new US report said today.
Ling Li, Worldwatch Institute says that bottled water may be pure but is expensive in terms of environmental and economic costs. You can see from this article how much 1 liter bottled water costs and impacts the environment. In the developed countries, people demand clean, safe, tasty and healthy attributes in water, while in under developed countries even getting normal water is a luxury for them especially to one billion people in the world.
In bottling the water from pure sources there is significant environmental damage, the water is depleted from rare underground aquifers by withdrawing it in large amounts. There is too much energy consumed to make one bottle of water, packaging, storing and shipping the bottled water. There is an additional environmental cost in using millions of tons of oil derived plastic to make the bottles.
Ms. Ling says, the bottled industry benefits the most by charging the consumers a high price, but does little to stop this environmental damage. And they don’t help much the poorer countries in giving them safe water.
Worldwatch estimated 35 to 50 per cent of urban dwellers in Africa and Asia lack adequate access to safe potable water.
The bottle used in bottling water uses polyethylene terephthalate or PET which requires less energy to recycle and less chlorine into the atmosphere, but sadly the recycling rates have diminished so only 23.1 percent of these bottles are recycled in 2005 compared to 39.7 in 1995. As a result many of the PET bottles are not recycled and remain in trash collection areas.
Bottled water costs from 240 to 10,000 times as much as water straight from the tap. In dollars, that means such water sold in most industrialized countries costs $US500 to $US1000 ($605 to $1210) a cubic meter compared with US50 cents (60 cents) a cubic meter in California, where the quality of tap water is high.
Worldwide the consumption of bottled water is on the rise, it has doubled almost twice between 1997 and 2005, and with United States the largest consumer drank nearly 28.6 billion liters in 2005. India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Indonesia and Spain round out the top 10.
Bottled water maybe a convenient one to drink pure water but it costs a lot in terms of environmental damage. One should try to use other means to drink water, can install water filters at home like Brita or Pur Water filters.
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