Bottled water is one of the most famous beverages in the world, and the business is capitalizing on it. Since the millennium, the world has made substantial progress towards the objective of safe drinking water for all. In 2020, 74% of humankind had access to clean drinking water. This is 10% higher than it was two decades ago. However, two billion people continue to lack access to clean potable water.
Meanwhile, bottled water companies utilize surface water and aquifers at cheap expense and offer it for 150 to 1,000 times the price of city tap water. The price is frequently explained by presenting the product as a completely secure option to tap water. But bottled water is not immune to all contamination, considering that it rarely faces the rigorous public health and environmental regulations that public utility tap water does.
In a recently published study, which studied 109 countries, it was concluded that the highly profitable and fast-growing bottled water industry is masking the failure of public systems to supply reliable drinking water for all.
The fast-growing bottled water industry is also impacting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and is increasing stress in water-depleted areas while contributing to plastic pollution on land and in the oceans.
The bottled water market is the fastest growing in the food sector globally, with the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin American and Caribbean areas accounting for 60% of total sales.
However, no area is on pace to reach one of the SDG 2030 goals of ubiquitous access to clean water services. Indeed, the industry’s largest effect appears to be its potential to stymie nations’ efforts to provide their citizens with equitable access to cheap drinking water.
As a result, in many low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia Pacific, increasing bottled water usage is viewed as a surrogate sign of governments’ failure to provide safe potable water to the public for decades.
As the bottled water market expands, it is more essential than ever to reinforce industry regulations and water quality guidelines. To name a few, such laws can have an effect on bottled water quality control, aquifer extraction, land use, plastic refuse management, carbon pollution, funding, and disclosure duties.
Reference- The Conversation, National Geographic, Science, UNICEF report, WHO report