It is great to be safe, and bottled water (mineral or RO) minimises your adverse exposure to contamination. But safety sometimes comes with a negative externality – the environmental hazard caused by plastic bottles.
Water contamination and availability of clean drinking water across the world has seen rise in the business of bottled / mineral / spring water manufacturing units. India alone has seen exponential increase in the market for bottled water – The Economic Times reports that bottled water market is growing faster than carbonated drinks in India, mirroring global trend (Aug, 2016). Another research points that Indians drink nearly 20 litres (per capita) of bottled water in a year (2012 IKON research), which is less than developed countries but it is increasing rapidly every year. Increased consumption in the use of bottled water has also seen increase in plastic waste production. Volume of unmanaged plastic waste in Indian cities forces us to rethink our consumption pattern.
No one argues the importance of clean, treated water made available by affordable packaged drinking water but we cannot, at the same time, deny the adverse impact it is causing to our environment. We need to find a conscious midway to address both the problems and align solutions with the market economy to ensure its sustainability.
The picture shows two bottles; Left one is reusable and the right one is designed specifically for use and throw. Reusing plastic bottles will help reduce plastic waste. Refilling small bottles from bigger ones carrying safe clean drinking water is not only economic but environmentally safe. A colleague at my work place gifted me a glass mug and requested me to stop using plastic cups (distributed every day) for drinking water. The gesture made me conscious and since then I have replaced all temporary plastic bottles with reusable ones or glass bottles. Let us choose the left for the right this time!
By Daljeet Kaur, Associate Director, IPE Global