Bottled water: suckering an entire generation

Imagine getting your power supply from big 220-volt cylindrical batteries that are charged at power generating plants and then delivered to you every week by truck to be hooked up to your home’s wiring. You then load the spent battery from the previous week onto the truck which then hauls it back to the nearest power plant to be re-charged.

Doesn’t this sound like a ridiculous way of being supplied electrical power?

Next time you buy a bottle of drinking water, think of how we’ve been so completely suckered into a dependency on this “product”. It is a product that commands prices that are anywhere from a ten- to 100-fold premium over a more readily-accessible alternative — tap water. Yet the industry is now worth billions.

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As a wise man once said:

You can start a lucrative business with a bullshit product. All you need is a few million suckers to sell it to.

Indeed, selling bottled water has proven to be profitable, more so because manufacturers of bottled water do not have to bear the cost of storage and environmentally-sound disposal of the empty plastic bottles. Furthermore the bottles, like most plastic products, are petroleum-based. Let’s also not forget to mention the fuel burned by delivery trucks moving the “product” about.

Bottled water is the biggest scam of the last several decades. How long is it going to take for the sensibilities of humanity to catch on?

Maybe to get a sense of humanity’s track record of coming to its senses, consider that other billion-dollar industry — tobacco. Smoking began to be banned in public buildings and then in enclosed areas only in the last two decades of the 20th Century – thirty years after its grave risks to peoples’ health were discovered. Nevertheless, it is quite remarkable how cigarette smoking has gone from being the über-cool prop it used to be — a la James Dean and his Lucky Strikes — to the stigmatised disgusting habit it is seen to be today.

Why not a similar fate for this modern-day mass insanity? Just like the sight of a full ashtray today elicits revulsion once considered bizarre half a century ago, perhaps we will one day walk into a museum and get a few laughs viewing an exhibit dedicated to that old turn-of-the-century relic of humanity’s victimisation-by-clever-marketing — the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles used for selling drinking water to an entire generation of suckers.

There is hope:

THE Southern Highlands village of Bundanoon is poised to become the first town in Australia, and quite possibly the world, to ban commercially bottled water.

A town meeting tonight – bearing the almost irresistible slogan “Bundy on tap” – will ask for a formal show of hands on the proposed ban.

All Bundy’s shops have supported a ban, agreeing to lose over-the-counter income in order to combat the hefty carbon footprint associated with bottling water and trucking it around the state.

“It’s also a moral thing, in that it has just been such a wonderful marketing job by the beverage industry, selling people something they can have for free,” said Huw Kingston, who owns a combined cafe and bike shop in the town.

Beverage companies truthfully maintain that bottled water is a healthier alternative to fizzy soft drinks. But the plastic bottles are made from crude oil and most are thrown away rather than being refilled.

See the full article here.

[NB: This article was originally published on the now defunct c. July 2009]

13 Replies to “Bottled water: suckering an entire generation”

  1. Well, I understand most people don’t really need the bottled water, but in my case I really do need it especially if I don’t have access to my own personal water supply. I have somewhat of a weak digestive system and am prone to picking up “things” when I drink from filtered tap water. So in my case, I avoid but there are instances where I really need it.


  2. I think when it comes to computers and technology, the only reason why there’s a lot of paper being printed out is because senior management (older people) who had lived during the typewriting age, still prefer browsing hardcopies. Give it a few more years and I’m pretty sure that the next generation of management would be able to read everything within their PCs/workstations, then there’ll be little use for paper.

    As for the bottled water issue, it might be a waste for countries outside the Philippines where you can actually drink tap. Try drinking tap in the Philippines and you’d probably spend more on medical bills to cure diseases caused by bacteria than buying a small bottled water.

  3. In da Pinass there are only four choice I make: beer, soda, buko-juice, and bottled h2o from tourist store. Municipals’ water is poison!

    1. Believe it or not Joe, in the 80’s we used to drink tap water. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that water will be sold in bottles.

      In Manila, there are water chlorination and filtration plants like the ones in Balara, Quezon City. Their recent rehabilitation (see URL: is supposed to solve the problem of water potability in the metropolis.

      From where I come from, i still drink from the tap. We just use a water purifier just to make sure.

      Rehabilitating Balara and adding more facilities like it is the simplest solution really, no need for the overhyped filtered commercial water.

      Political will by the current administration and its allies is needed though, we don’t need their political posturing via the Corona impeachment trial, we need action!

    2. @Joe America

      You could boil and/or filter the water if needed. And the free water in your local carinderia is usually just tap water.

  4. I always drink tap water(filtered tho)instead of buying bottle water, and instead of buying one I just pack my own bottle of water when going out.
    I don’t understand why lots of people don’t drink tap water, sure, some of water sources they have might be unsafe or filled with bacterias and other nasty stuff, but other people have access to clean tap water yet they still buy bottled water instead.

    1. Well, quite frankly, even if the so called establishment has a filter installed for the tap water, there is a risk of running into establishments than may have not properly maintained their filters.

      As per my recollection tap water from NAWASA is about 85% clean, this goes through pipes that are hopefully water tight against intrusion, then you have to keep in mind that the on-site storage prior to being fed out of the faucet is also properly maintained and you got a hell lot of things to consider before you can be really assured what you are drinking if “safe”.

      Granted, some people can handle those, but in my case, I really can not and have repeatedly tried only to get the occassional amoeba problem or needing antibiotics to rid myself of diarrhea.

      I even avoid using the ice in the glass served to me along with my chilled bottled water because I do not know how it is handled.

    2. “I don’t understand why lots of people don’t drink tap water, sure, some of water sources they have might be unsafe or filled with bacteria and other nasty stuff, but other people have access to clean tap water yet they still buy bottled water instead.”

      Besides correcting your use of “bacteria,” which is already the plural form of “bacterium,” clean tap water in the Philippines? I’ll have to agree with JoeAm: It’s a joke.

  5. “Joe America on March 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Dude, you obviously don’t live in the Philippines. The water has creatures in it.”

    Doesnt anyone here drink boiled water anymore? If any “bacterium” can survive 100 degree centigrade…I think no amount of filtration or chlorination can protect your health.

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