Sunday, January 20, 2013


Is bottled water a basic necessity of day to day life? An interesting question that may elicit different answer from different people. If this question is asked of any citizens in India, the answer definitely will be in the affirmative. Why? Because there is hardly any source of water in India that can be considered safe for drinking without causing water-borne diseases like Hepatitis B or jaundice! In countries like the US or in Europe piped water supply can be depended upon for safety and bottled water at best may be only for convenience for carrying around where ever one goes. No wonder that not providing potable water in almost all so called protected water supply regimen in urban areas, GOI has opened up a great invest opportunity to thousands entrepreneurs to set up shop, peddling so called potable water! While some are genuine processors there are many fly-by-night operators fleecing the citizens by selling bottled water of dubious quality and safety. A global movement seems to be in early stage of growth which calls for banning of bottled water in many cities and other public places and encouraging drinking from public outlets from where potable water of assured quality is ensured. There is a report about a civic body in Italy which has banned bottled water and instead has branded its piped water with guaranteed quality and safety! Here is a take on this new movement with far reaching implications.

"When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water. At one of UVM's recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their refillable bottles is an old habit."It's much more convenient to fill up your water bottle at a water fountain than to buy bottled water," says Mikayla McDonald, a recent graduate, who a few years ago helped to launch the campaign that led to UVM's ban. McDonald hopes it will reduce waste. But for her, it's not just about changing behavior on campus. "Bottled water is a symbol of our culture's obsession with commodifying things that should be public trust resources," she says. In that spirit, a few other American colleges have restricted or banned the sale of bottled water to promote sustainability. But the University of Vermont is the largest public institution to do so, and that development disappoints beverage companies.
"I think they're concerned because it's such a radical step," says lobbyist Andrew MacLean, who represents local water and soft drink distributors in Vermont. He agrees with the students' environmental goals, but he thinks an outright ban restricts free choice and will ultimately fail. "The factors that will result in more materials getting out of landfills is going to be a cooperative effort promoting strong recycling," he argues. But at least one New England town says recycling isn't enough to keep plastic bottles out of its waste stream. Concord, Mass. — perhaps best known for its role in the American Revolution — joined the student movement this month, outlawing the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles in its stores".

Branded bottled water is considered a big blessing for millions of Indians who have no accessibility to safe potable water due to suspect quality of water supplies all over the country. Whether resource crunch or apathy is responsible for thousands of urban entities to shirk their responsibility to establish viable water supply schemes in their township is a matter of debate. It was only recently that Karnataka High Court pulled up the government for the apathy it has shown in not regulating the bottled water industry by aggressive overseeing to ensure the products conform to ISI standards  but knowing the apathy of the government no honest citizen expects any thing dramatic to come out as a result of such strictures from the judiciary! The manufacturers of domestic water treatment equipment are laughing all the way to their banks because of high demand for their gadgets from millions of households who do not want to jeopardize their health by drinking unsafe "government water"!


No comments: