Pakistan has a total population of 193.2 million people. And out of this 193.2 million people, 35 percent do not have access to safe drinking water.
As a result, people have several water-borne diseases. And according to Pakistan’s National Drinking Water Policy of 2009, Pakistan spends a total of Rs112 billion ($1.1 billion) each year to bear the cost of water related diseases, sanitation and hygiene.
Tap water is no more considered a safe source of water in Pakistan. Majority of the population has resorted to using bottled water because it is considered a safer option.
According to a study conducted by the World Bank in 2009, bottled water consumption comprises of 29 percent of all the water related costs. And that is equivalent to 1.4 percent of the total economic costs.
A lot of the cities and towns that do have water sources nearby, there is a mixing with sewerage water and other pollutants, which makes the consumers resort to bottled water. For urban consumers, it has become a lot more convenient to just carry bottled water with them. Hence, there is a growing increase in demand for bottled water across Pakistan.
The study also found out that the total cost of bottled water consumption was Rs4.67 billion ($76.72 million).
Research conducted by Euromonitor International shows that Nestle is the market leader when it comes to its shares (52%) of the bottled water market. Aquafina by PepsiCo and Kinley by Coca-Cola have also been successful in creating market space for themselves.
However, have you ever paused and thought about how beneficial and pure bottled water actually is?
Here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider using bottled water:
Plastic bottles, no matter what they say, are not recycled
Despite claims of recycling, 6 out 7 bottles of water are sent for downcycling according to a study conducted in the US. This means that they are sent out of plain sight and disposed off somewhere remote.
They add to the pollution of the environment
Plastic bottles are manufactured using vast quantities of fossil fuels and water. They are packaged and shipped around the globe. However, they are not biodegradable at all. What you guys can consume in less than a minute, might just stay on the planet for a thousand years. And the toxins that are produced from degrading plastic can enter into watersheds and soil.
Mostly it is just glorified tap water
No matter how serene the imagery is on your bottled water, that does not mean that the water in the bottle comes from springs or ground water sources. A study shows that almost 40% of bottled water is tap water. They might filter or radiate the water with ultraviolet rays, but it is still tap water.
It can cause cancer
A lot of the plastic used for bottled water contains Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA when exposed to heat, leaches into the water and creates a lot of bad estrogen. When high levels of bad estrogen circulate into your body, it can cause breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
PET bottles can contain saliva, fecal matter and food residues
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are BPA free but according to a study conducted by the North Dakota State University, PET bottles can have saliva, fecal matter and food residues in the plastic. This is because it is a soft plastic and is impossible to clean. So when it is recycled, these residues can cause serious health hazards.
Sterility in males
Phthalates is another type of plastic used to manufacture bottled water. It is a more flexible plastic but it can cause testicular atrophy, liver cancer and sterility in males.
Here are some more interesting facts:
- Every day, more than a 100 million plastic bottles are used worldwide.
- More than 90% of the cost of a bottled water is due to its packaging and not because of its quality.
- 1 bottle of water requires 3 litres of water for packaging.
- An estimate 1,500 plastic bottles end up as waste in landfills or thrown in the ocean every second.
- There’s an area in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas – known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – which is composed of plastic.
- Plastic is listed as the number one threat to our marine ecosystem.
- The energy used to manufacture bottled water can power 190,000 homes.
- Antimony, which causes dizziness and depression and even death can be found in PET plastic bottles.
These bottled water brands in Pakistan are unsafe for you:
In 2013, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) conducted a research to test for contamination in bottled water. They found 27 brands of bottled water being sold in Pakistan unsafe for drinking. These included
Elixir, Nature Aqua, Aqua Safe, Best Nation, Al Sana, Oxigyzer, Lock, Pan Pura, Kalash Pure Water, Premier Pure Water, Safi Mineral Water, NN Welfare, Aqua Royal, Water Empire, Water Plus, Berg, Lite Wave, Oslo, Zindagi, Mathar, Best Water, Sea Breeze, Cool, Kallan Water, Aqua National, Active and Sunlay .
12 of these 27 brands had arsenic ranging from 12 to 44 parts per billion.
If water has excessive levels of arsenic in it, it can cause skin diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, hypertension, heart diseases, birth defects and multiple types of cancers.
With all this information, make the right choice for yourself!
In a Thirsty World | The Water Project
How Long Does It Take For Plastic To Biodegrade? | How Stuff Works
Plastics And The Environment | Safe Bottles
Cover image via: businessinsider.sg