Posted in May 2016, Uncategorized

Bad news about bottled water!

 

water
Image from: Inhabitat.com

Recently I was travelling by train to Kolkata from Delhi. It was hot and of course, I needed a lot of drinking water. I had two glass bottles of water with me from home, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for 24 hours long journey. I bought a plastic bottle of water and I didn’t feel good about it. But it just shocked me how many bottles of water were sold on the train and how many of them have been just simply thrown outside the train.

The hot summer is here and it seems it comes faster every year.  Water is the perfect and the only way to refresh.  In coming months the selling of bottled water will increase enormously and so will the waste of plastic bottles!

It is true that we cannot drink tap water in India and on top of that different brands market their water as the one which has all important minerals.  Many people actually consume the specific water brand for many years. Water is extremely important and on average we should drink around 2-3 litters of water every day. Our body is made up of 80 percent water and you can only live a few days without this precious, life-giving substance. Since it is so important, you will get bottled water in every small shop in every corner of the city.

Unfortunately, there are many bad news about bottled water.

It is not healthy to drink bottled water.

Can you imagine the effect of the bottle of water on us which is sitting on the shop’s shelf? When you choose water from plastic bottle you are exposed to BPA – Bisphenol A or BPA which is an estrogenic chemical and has been linked to serious health problems including: Learning and behavioural problems, altered immune system function, early puberty in girls and fertility problems, decreased sperm count, prostate and breast cancer, diabetes and obesity and more. Though drinking bottled water possess serious health risks, leaving this bottle water in the hot sun will cause even more serious chemical exposure. Ultraviolet rays from the sun or high temperatures will accelerate leaching of the plastic chemicals directly into water!  Adding to this health threat is a toxic substance called dioxin, which is also released into bottled water when it is left in the sun. Dioxin has been strongly linked to the development of breast cancer.

It is not environmentally friendly to drink bottled water.

There’s no sense in sugar-coating it. Bottled water is destructive to the environment. There is more water needed to make a plastic bottle that is actually in the bottle itself. Another problem with bottled water is the incredible amount of oil and fuel needed to make these plastic bottles as well to transport them to your local stores! And sadly, even if we think that they are all recyclable many of them finish in the landfills and in the oceans.

Basically we are disposing important natural resources, filling our lands with the trash and making a health threat to all of us.

For couple of years, I have been carrying my own water. I remember how we as students started to bring our own bottles to the colleges.  I am reusing some glass bottles which I had at home and I am taking one of them with me. Sometimes it’s smart to have in your mind how much water would you need during the day and if there is an option to refill the bottle. Many places offer that. Once I already bought the plastic bottle of water on the train to Kolkata, I figured out I could refill it in the next big station.For me was a mistake, which I don’t want to repeat next time. Imagine, how big impact we can all make if everyone brings their own bottle?

Not only bottled water, there are also soft drinks for which I have no good words. We hear a lot about soft drinks and its effects on our health, but it seems we are still consuming them. Sweet drinks, which makes us even thirstier are packed in even smaller plastic bottles and designed in a way to use it and dispose it. I don’t want to imagine the chemical reaction between the ingredients and plastic bottle. I said no to soft drinks and I rather drink homemade ice tea and lemonade, which just taste so much better.

When we are talking about environmental issues, it’s usually on us to change something in our everyday life and in that way decrease the impact. This is actually sustainable life style which can start with taking small steps every day. Saying no to bottled water is definitely one of them.

 

Katja Polc, Member of Vatavaran team

 

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Author:

Vatavaran is a small organization that has decided that it simply must be hands on about the betterment of the world around us. We’re not sitting here for one issue or the other, but for fighting things that bother us in our everyday lives. Basically - we’re determined to make a difference. At the moment, we're working with Solid Waste Management, Water Conservation, our patented Recycling Scheme (WERMS), and e-waste recycling. Join us - we do hands-on work, we do simple and applicable work. We're not fancy, we're not big, we're not famous. We're just working. If you have an idea that you thing deserves to be applied in our daily lives to make a difference, come work with us. At Vatavaran, you lead your own project. It's autonomous work - your idea, your responsibility. We're just the vessel. Because we're cool like that.

One thought on “Bad news about bottled water!

  1. In 1997, we took out a report on ‘maladies on railway stations’ . Well received report and even some actions were taken by the then government .
    Here I am reproducing that part of the report which dealt with bottled water.
    Water Racket at the Stations

    On an average ten thousand discarded mineral water bottles are refilled and sold to the passengers’ every day, The modus operandi of the racket is given below.
    • Over a dozen brands of mineral water bottles are sold at the stalls in the stations. The prominent brands are Bisleri, Oasis, Ganga, Dew Drops, Kinley, Aquafina, Trishul, Yes, Dolphin etc. the cost a liter of sealed bottle of mineral water costs Rs.8 to Rs. 10.
    • About 500 child rag pickers live, eat, sleep and do a business of refilling and reselling mineral water bottles on the railway stations every day. Each child manages to collect 20 discarded bottles from the platforms and railway tracks.
    • The bottles are divided into two categories. The first, which look fresh and have the sealing ring intact and the second, which do not look new, do not have the sealing rings but have the caps intact.
    • The second category bottles are filled from the tap on the station and sold at the rate of Rs. 5 to passengers. They are not sealed. The first category of bottles is sold to a Kabari located on the outskirts of the stations. From here the shopkeeper who duly fills, seal and resell them buys them. They are sold at the rate of Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per bottle.
    • The rag pickers earn Rs. 2 per bottle sold, the Kabari earns Rs. 3 per bottle and the shopkeepers make a profit of Rs.3 to Rs. 5 per bottle sold.
    • Melting the edges of the sealing ring with the help of a candle flame and then pressing the edges together reseal the bottles. In both eventualities whether the bottles are sealed or not sealed the passengers are duped into buying ordinary, non-sterilised tap water.
    Associated Health Hazards
    India accounts for about 20% of the 350 million cases of viral hepatitis and over half the cases of typhoid recorded in the world in 1997. Diarrhea, which claims 3 million lives worldwide, is caused due to water and food borne pathogens. India accounts for 20% of all deaths and up to 30% of all incidences of Diarrhoea. Contaminated water is the single most important source of infection in all these diseases. Pathogens like bacteria salmonella thypi, Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholera and the hepatitis virus are present in contaminated drinking water.
    The Railways is a bulk buyer of mineral water bottles but does not take the responsibility of setting up a quality control laboratory. The onus is on the Railways to ensure the customers availing its services, are not taken for a hazardous ride by unscrupulous people within the premises of the stations.
    A public organization like the Railways, catering to lakh of customers daily, should ensure that only genuine bottled mineral water, which is free from pathogens and other physic-chemical contamination, is supplied to the passengers.

    Liked by 1 person

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