HiiAssalamualaikum… I’l call into your attention a very important issue. Bottled Water- Do we really need it?
I’l start off with a little explanation of our system. In this system, stuff starts offfrom extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal.All together it is called the Materials economy1 We are living in a world obsessed with stuff.Its a system in crisis. Because its functioning on a linear model. And we cannot run a linear model in a finite world!3 In the past three decades alone one-third of the planet’s natural resourcesbase have been consumed. Gone!!
1 we're trashing the planet====we're trashing each other====and we're not even having fun. 2 But the good thing is that when we start to understand the systemwe can see lots of places to step in and turn these problems into solutions.But the problem with trying to use less stuffis that, sometimes we feel like we really need it!
Suppose you are thirsty here at iba, what are the chances that you will go to a water cooler? Few people actually drink from the 5 water coolers installed here. Most of us go and buy a bottled water from the canteen.
1 Bottled water costs that two thousand times more than tap water..Can you imagine paying 2000 times the price of anything else?2 How about a Rs10,000 sandwich?yet people in the US buy more than half a billiongallons of water every weekthat is enough to circle the globe more than five times!
In the 1970s giant soft drink companiesgot worried as they saw their growth projectionsstarting to level off as there is a limit a person can drink soda.Plus they realized that it wouldn't be long before people beganrealizing that soda is not that healthyand turned back todrinking tap water.
The companies found their next big idea. BOTTLED WATERWhen it was first introduced, It was first in a silly designer product that most people laughed off
Then how did this come to be?One of its key drivers is known as manufactured demand.If companies want to keep growingthey have to keep selling more and more stuff.How do they do that?Since people are reluctant to trade their hard-earned moneyfor this unnecessary product,they make them feel scared and insecure if they don’t have it.
1 One of their first marketing tactics was toscare people about tap water.2 Next, they hide the reality of their product behindimages of pure fantasy.Have you ever noticed how bottled water try to seduce us with pictures of mountains streams and nature?But guess where a third of all bottled water in the U.S. actuallycomes from?The tap!3. Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us – these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand. Once they’ve manufactured all this demand, creating a new multibillion dollar market they defend it by beating out the competition.But in this case, the competition is our basic human right toclean, safe drinking water.4. They want us to think it’s dirty and bottled water is the best alternative.5. In many places, public water is polluted thanks to polluting industries likethe plastic bottle industry itself!And these bottled water companies are all too happyto offer their expensive solutionswhich keep us hooked on their products.
And in the words of their own heads, the biggest…
Susan Wellington, the head of FIGI which was a water bottle company was so confident of his advertisement campaign
The problems start here with extraction and productionwhere oil is used to make water bottles.Each year, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energyto fuel a million cars.All that energy spent to make the bottle, andeven more to ship it around the planet, we just drink it in about 2 minutes?
Here in this recent full page ad, Nestlé said:“Bottled water is the most environmentallyresponsible consumer product in the world.”What?!They are trashing the environment all along the product’s life cycle.Exactly how is that environmentally responsible?
That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle,Disposal. What happens to all these bottles when we’re done? 80% end up in landfills,where they will sit for thousands of years,or in incinerators, where they are burned, releasing toxic pollution.The rest gets collected for recycling.
Real recycling would turn these bottlesback into bottles.But that isn’t whats happening here.Instead these bottles aredowncycled,which means turning them into lower qualityproducts that would just be chucked later.
The parts that cannot be downcycled are thrown away andshipped all the way to third world countries.
Despite being a poor country, bottled water has fast gained popularity in Pakistan among those who can afford. It reflects snobbery and coolness. Be it a conference at iba or a meeting at a 5 star hotel. 500ml water bottles are used excessively.
1 Its time we take back the tap from the MNCs. We should Avoid buying disposable water bottles as much as we can. Instead we should buy a water bottle made of glass or steel which we can use daily and refill at home. High end resturants in the metropolis of Pakistan have stopped offering tap water. A campaign should be launched asking the resturants to install water filters and offer free water to their customers. Lets make a pledge that We will not buy into their manufactured demand anymore. 2 We will choose our own demands, thank you very muchand we’re demanding clean, safe water for all.