The sale of bottled water to most Americans, who have access to cheap and safe tap water from municipal systems, is a marketing scam, and environmentally devastating besides. As Peter H. Gleick of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute showed in 2007, it took the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic bottles for American buyers in 2006. That would be enough to fuel 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year.Wait, Fiji water actually is bottled in Fiji and shipped to the United States? That may be the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. It should be legal to flog people who are stupid enough to market or buy something this stupid. I did find this entertaining tidbit:
"Bottled water requires energy throughout its life cycle," Gleick has written. "Energy is required to capture, treat, and send water to the bottling plant; fill, package, transport, and cool the bottled water; and recycle or dispose of the empty containers."
Consider the unnecessary energy usage in shipping, say, Fiji Water to these shores from a Pacific island dictatorship 5,000 miles away, all to satisfy the marketing thirst of the product's distributors, Lynda and Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills. And while you're cradling that shiny square bottle in your hands, keep in mind that 30% of Fiji's 800,000 residents don't have access to clean drinking water themselves.
The drought is bound to focus more attention on the extraction of water from California sources for retail sale. The Desert Sun of Palm Springs started that process this week, with an exhaustive look at the deal between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Nestle Waters North America, which draws water for its Arrowhead brand from sources on the reservation.
The piece was not as exhaustive as it could have been, because neither Nestle nor the Morongo are forthcoming about how much water is being drawn.
In 2006, Fiji Water ran an advertisement stating, "The label says Fiji because it's not bottled in Cleveland". This was taken as an insult by the city's water department. The Cleveland Water Department ran tests comparing a bottle of Fiji Water to Cleveland tap water and some other national bottled brands. Fiji Water reportedly contained 6.31 micrograms of arsenic per litre where as the tap water of Cleveland contained none.Bottled water is for idiots. Drink it straight from the tap.