Friday, March 04, 2011

Bottled water: suckering an entire generation

Imagine getting your power supply from big 220-volt cylindrical batteries that are charged at power generating plants and then delivered to you every week by truck to be hooked up to your home's wiring. You then load the spent battery from the previous week onto the truck which then hauls it back to the nearest power plant to be re-charged.

Doesn't this sound like a ridiculous way of being supplied electrical power?

Next time you buy a bottle of drinking water, think of how we've been so completely suckered into a dependency on this "product". It is a product that commands prices that are anywhere from a ten- to 100-fold premium over a more readily-accessible alternative -- tap water. Yet the industry is now worth billions.

As a wise man once said:

You can start a lucrative business with a bullshit product. All you need is a few million suckers to sell it to.

Indeed, selling bottled water has proven to be profitable, more so because manufacturers of bottled water do not have to bear the cost of storage and environmentally-sound disposal of the empty plastic bottles. Furthermore the bottles, like most plastic products, are petroleum-based. Let's also not forget to mention the fuel burned by delivery trucks moving the "product" about.

Bottled water is the biggest scam of the last several decades. How long is it going to take for the sensibilities of humanity to catch on?

Maybe to get a sense of humanity's track record of coming to its senses, consider that other billion-dollar industry -- tobacco. Smoking began to be banned in public buildings and then in enclosed areas only in the last two decades of the 20th Century - thirty years after its grave risks to peoples' health were discovered. Nevertheless, it is quite remarkable how cigarette smoking has gone from being the über-cool prop it used to be -- a la James Dean and his Lucky Strikes -- to the stigmatised disgusting habit it is seen to be today.

Why not a similar fate for this modern-day mass insanity? Just like the sight of a full ashtray today elicits revulsion once considered bizarre half a century ago, perhaps we will one day walk into a museum and get a few laughs viewing an exhibit dedicated to that old turn-of-the-century relic of humanity's victimisation-by-clever-marketing -- the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles used for selling drinking water to an entire generation of suckers.

There is hope:
THE Southern Highlands village of Bundanoon is poised to become the first town in Australia, and quite possibly the world, to ban commercially bottled water.

A town meeting tonight - bearing the almost irresistible slogan "Bundy on tap" - will ask for a formal show of hands on the proposed ban.

All Bundy's shops have supported a ban, agreeing to lose over-the-counter income in order to combat the hefty carbon footprint associated with bottling water and trucking it around the state.

"It's also a moral thing, in that it has just been such a wonderful marketing job by the beverage industry, selling people something they can have for free," said Huw Kingston, who owns a combined cafe and bike shop in the town.

Beverage companies truthfully maintain that bottled water is a healthier alternative to fizzy soft drinks. But the plastic bottles are made from crude oil and most are thrown away rather than being refilled.

See the full article here.


[This article was originally published by the author on the 8th of July 2009 in the now-defunct FilipinoVoices.com.]

3 comments:

  1. I'd rather drink bottled water any day over tap water from the Philippines; it's not that i want to polute more, i just don't want to die when i drink water.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a society-wide issue and not for just one person to solve. The measures needed to eradicate the use of bottled water are systemic and macro in nature.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Since I live within the province of Zambales, purified water is a must. However, my water is delivered to my home in large containers that are refilled. If I'm going out, I fill my own sports bottle with cold water.

    ReplyDelete

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