A few thoughts on the politics and privatization of one of the most basic ingredients of life itself. And what it means for us all.
I’m a Type II Diabetic, which means I have to drink a lot of water. And I mean a lot- sometimes as much as two gallons a day depending upon my level of activity. I have a Brita filter and pitcher at home and it’s a tremendous help; it’s a very cheap alternative that lasts quite a while before you even need to change the filter. I don’t care what anyone tells you about unfiltered tap water vs bottled water- I can taste the difference, and that shit tastes nasty. As far as mineral water goes, the added nutrients are a plus, but not really a concern for me. Bottled water is convenient, relatively cheap and readily disposable- which is the point, after all. Despite the warnings about plastic containers leaching toxins into the water, unless you’re inclined towards carrying about a gallon or so around with you on a daily basis- and even then you’d probably still have to carry it in a big plastic container- that’s kind of a moot point. There are various classifications of bottled water, and each category has significant differences as to what exactly you’re purchasing. Check here for a handy reference guide.
Speaking of plastics, what most people tend to forget is that plastic is made from oil reserves. Yep, it’s not just SUVs that made both Bu$h I & II wanna get in there so darn quick- cellphones, computers, dvd/cds, candy bar wrappers… if it’s mass produced, it’s bound to have plastic in it- and next to advertising is the most expensive component when it comes to selling bottled water. And for all you hipsters out there protesting oil companies with your iPhones and netbooks while drinking Dasani (Coca Cola), Poland Spring (Nestle) and Aquafina (Pepsi), don’t think those companies aren’t glad for having your heads up your asses. The former CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck, has a pretty infamous interview clip where he states that “human beings having a right to water is an extreme position. Water is a foodstuff that should be assigned a market value and specific measures taken for that part of the population that has no access to it.” This becomes quite telling behind the fact that Nestle has been sued on more than one occasion for packaging municipal tap water as spring water as well as damaging the local ecosystem.
The global battle over drinking water is rapidly escalating on all fronts. Likes.com has a comprehensive slide presentation illustrating many of the above points and more. I’ve always wondered why/how suburban communities always have a water bill. It makes a little more sense now, but makes you wonder how long it’ll take before someone gets the idea to start tacking water charges onto apartment buildings in the cities. Can’t quite dismiss that scenario. And it’ll be pretty damn ugly if/when it does happen.