Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

    October 26, 2006
    by Stephen Soldz

    People spend billions of dollars a year [yes, that's billions] on bottled water. Some estimates say a fraction of that money could provide safe water for everyone on earth.

    What are we getting for those billions? Scammed! As this AlterNet article discusses, many people in most cities cannot tell the difference from tap water.
    Walking through Boston's Copley Square on a sunny day last month, however, she was intrigued by a banner advertising something called the "Tap Water Challenge." As she approached the table, a fresh-faced activist behind it told her the "challenge" was a blind taste test to see if passersby could tell the difference between bottled water and tap water. Mahoney turned her back while four water samples were poured into small paper cups -- two of tap water from Boston and a nearby suburb, and one each of Poland Spring and Aquafina.

    "That's tap water," Mahoney declared after draining the first cup. "That tastes just like what I drink at home." Her confidence faded, however, as she downed the next three, which all seemed to taste the same. When the cups were turned over, it turned out that what she thought was tap water was actually Aquafina -- and what she thought was Poland Spring was actually the same Boston tap water she gets at home for free. "I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it," she says later. "You know I pay so much for that water. Now I am thinking to stop the Poland Spring."
    Of course, if a simple, inexpensive filter was used to remove some of the chlorine and other substances, the tap water tastes better and is safer.

    And the tap water is often safer than bottled water:

    A 1999 study by the National Resources Defense Council of more than 1,000 bottles of water found that, while most bottled water was safe, some brands violated strict state standards on bacterial contamination, while others were found to contain harmful chemicals such as arsenic. The report concluded that bottled water was no safer than water taken from the tap.
    In some cases bottled water is more dangerous than water from the tap:

    Of course, Coke and Pepsi tout the elaborate additional steps they take that purify the water after it comes out of the tap, with both companies filtering it multiple times to remove particulates before subjecting it to additional techniques such as "reverse osmosis" and ozone treatment. Reverse osmosis, however, is hardly state of the art -- essentially consisting of the same treatment applied through commercially available home tap water filters, while ozonation can introduce additional problems such as the formation of the chemical bromate, a suspected carcinogen. In March 2004, Coca-Cola was forced to recall nearly 500,000 bottles of Dasani water in the United Kingdom due to bromate contamination that exceeded the U.K. and U.S. limit of 10 parts per billion. This past August, three grocery stores chains in upstate New York who all used local company Mayer Bros. to produce their store brands issued recalls after samples were found contaminated with more than double the bromate limit; in some cases, contaminated water was apparently sold for five weeks before the problem was detected.
    Further, not only is bottled water often indistinguishable from tap water, much of the time it is tap water:

    In fact, many times bottled water is tap water. Contrary to the image of water flowing from pristine mountain springs, more than a quarter of bottled water actually comes from municipal water supplies.
    For years I have been amazed at the willingness of people to fall for this corporate scam. The bottled water buzz is simply a few large corporations trying to get us to pay for what we used to consider a public good:

    The industry is dominated by three companies, who together control more than half the market: Coca-Cola, which produces Dasani; Pepsi, which produces Aquafina; and Nestlé, which produces several "local" brands including Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka and Calistoga (a fact that itself often surprises participants in the Tap Water Challenges). Both Coke and Pepsi exclusively use tap water for their source, while Nestlé uses tap water in some brands.
    The bottled water industry is damaging to the environment:

    itizens in states including Maine, Michigan, Texas, and Florida have all fought against Nestlé, whom they accuse of harming the environment by depleting aquifers and damaging stream systems with extractions of massive amounts of water though their local bottling affiliates, for which they pay next to nothing in fees and then sell at a huge markup. In 2003, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) won a landmark court victory shutting down a Nestlé plant that was taking water from a stream that fed a wildlife refuge, sensitive marshland and several lakes.
    Further, the trend toward bottled water, like much privatization, endangers support for the public infrastructure that makes society livable:

    For the activists behind the taste test however, the growth of bottled water undermines the public's willingness to invest in the kind of infrastructure investments that could improve all public water supplies -- opening up the door in some cases to privatization of water systems by for-profit corporations. "People get in the habit of paying a lot more for their drinking water, and they say if we are paying for bottled water, there is no reason we shouldn't be paying a lot for these water services," says Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute and author of "Inside the Bottle," a report critical of the bottled water industry. The downside, he says, is increased cost. "Whenever there is a public service utility taken over by a private service the first thing that happens is that rates are jacked up."
    Why do those most skeptical of corporate domination fall for this scam? Analysis is required of the fantasies of purity and of pollution that dominate so much of our public and private lives. Tap water is processed. We see it come out of the tap. It's the same water that is in our polluted toilets. The chlorine taste reminds us of that "pollution."

    In contrast, bottled water creates the fantasy of natural purity. Those mountains and springs in the name and pictured on the bottles create this fantasy. The fact that the water comes from Coca Cola or Nestles can be ignored. The fantasy is a little whiff of purity in the midst of our polluted lives.

    Further, buying bottled water allows the simultaneous gratification of sin and virtue. We can go into the convenience store and buy a product to consume while at the same time feeling virtuous for not falling for the inducements to buy and consume the flavored sugar water that fill the stores shelves. One act can be good and bad at the same time.

    Meanwhile, the large corporate purveyors of this fantasy rake in the dough. Perhaps its time to just say know to that spring in a bottle.


    http://soldzresearch.com/stephensoldz

    Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Institute for the Study of Violence of the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is a member of Roslindale Neighbors for Peace and Justice. He maintains the Psyche, Science, and Society blog.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/ope...d_water_co.htm
    URGENT!!! your help is badly needed - fundraising for marriage

  • #2
    Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

    Interesting :up:
    - Inna Ma'iya Rabbi Sayah Deen -

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

      *takes a sip of his Volvic bottled water*

      This is all just speculation!
      If you read this closely enough you might spot the secret message hidden in it

      Mr President, You Are Wrong

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

        interesting artiicle , although not many facts given! seems like someones just having a rant!
        i will bear any ordeal, but i will not beg


        Watch the game, Learn the game, Control the game.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

          Originally posted by ibn suleman View Post
          interesting artiicle , although not many facts given! seems like someones just having a rant!
          nope, its backed up. there was a case in germany: the coca cola company sold a mineral water under the lable "bonaqua" - it actually was nothing else than tap water with gas.

          further, i know from first hand that for instance coca cola sells its lemonades in concentrated form (filled in plastic bags) to restaurants or any other gastronomic enterprises. then ordinary tap water and co2 is added to the concentrate (syrup) to be sold to the customer.
          URGENT!!! your help is badly needed - fundraising for marriage

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

            water is a confusing issue for me

            they are constantly coming out with new info on water. first drink only distilled its best for you, then NO, dont, its way to acidic for you, then dont trust any spring water companies, etc .. purchase reverse osmosis, no dont, new info always contradicting the old

            its very frustrating. how sad is mankind that he has totally ruined the earths water supply and what is something that is so necessary and beneficial is now so harmful in so many ways

            same with foods..all these pesticides, hormones, etc. and now these fake organic companies cashing in, just like the fake pure and spring water companies

            mankind is so greedy, they love money so much they could care less how much they are destroying everything healthy and natural

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

              I remember when Coca-Cola were putting tap water into bottles and selling it.What a scam:pI even bought a few bottles of the stuff myself.
              Bottled water is just another one of those things that is so commercialised and inflated,who really knows where this water comes from :\ no one to be honest.It could be just me being paranoid,I dont particularly trust many labels.But I generally think people need to learn that what it says on the label may not always be true:p

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The bottled water corporate scam and fantasies of purity and virtue

                The Bottled Water Lie: As Soft Drink Giant Admits Product is Tap Water, New Scrutiny Falls on the Economic and Environmental Costs of a Billion Dollar Industry

                Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

                The soft drink giant Pepsi has been forced to make an embarrassing admission – its best-selling Aquafina bottled water is nothing more than tap water. Pepsi has agreed to change its label under pressure from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) which has been leading an increasingly successful campaign against bottled water. We look at the economic and environmental costs of the bottled water industry with CAI’s Gigi Kellett and freelance journalist Michael Blanding. [includes rush transcript]

                The soft drink giant Pepsi has been forced to make an embarrassing admission – its best-selling Aquafina bottled water is nothing more than tap water. Last week Pepsi agreed to change the labels of Aquafina to indicate that the water comes from a public water source. Pepsi agreed to change its label under pressure from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International which has been leading an increasingly successful campaign against bottled water.

                In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently banned city departments from using city money to buy any kind of bottled water. In New York, local residents are being urged to drink tap water.The U.S. Conference of Mayors has passed a resolution that highlighted the importance of municipal water and called for more scrutiny of the impact of bottled water on city waste.

                The environmental impact of the country’s obsession with bottled water has been staggering. Each day an estimated 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away. Most are not recycled. The Pacific Institute has estimated 20 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the plastic for water bottles.

                Economically it makes sense to stop buying bottled water as well. The Arizona Daily Star recently examined the cost difference between bottled water and water from the city’s municipal supply. A half liter of Pepsi’s Aquafina at a Tucson convenience store costs one dollar and thirty nine cents. The bottle contains purified water from the Tucson water supply. From the tap, you can pour over six point four gallons for a penny. That makes the bottled stuff about 7,000 times more expensive even though Aquafina is using the same source of water.

                Two guests joins us from Boston:
                • Gigi Kellett. Associate Campaigns Director at Corporate Accountability International joins us in Boston. The group is spearheading the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign.
                RUSH TRANSCRIPT


                AMY GOODMAN: The soft drink giant Pepsi has been forced to make an embarrassing admission: its bestselling Aquafina bottled water is nothing more than tap water. Last week, Pepsi agreed to change the labels of Aquafina to indicate the water comes from a public water source. Pepsi agreed to change its label under pressure from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International, which has been leading an increasingly successful campaign against bottled water.

                In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently banned city departments from using city money to buy any kind of bottled water. In New York, local residents are being urged to drink tap water. The US Conference of Mayors has passed a resolution that highlighted the importance of municipal water and called for more scrutiny of the impact of bottled water on city waste.

                The environmental impact of the country's obsession with bottled water has been staggering. Each day an estimated sixty million plastic water bottles are thrown away. Most are not recycled. The Pacific Institute has estimated twenty million barrels of oil are used each year to make the plastic for water bottles.

                Economically, it makes sense to stop buying bottled water, as well. The Arizona Daily Star recently examined the cost difference between bottled water and water from the city's municipal supply. A half-liter of Pepsi's Aquafina at a Tucson convenience store costs $1.39. The bottle contains purified water from the Tucson water supply. From the tap, you can pour over 6.4 gallons for a penny. That makes the bottled stuff about 7,000 times more expensive, even though Aquafina is using the same source of water.

                Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International joins us in Boston, the group spearheading the Think Outside the Bottle campaign. We're also joined by freelance writer Michael Blanding. Last year he wrote an article for alternet.org called “The Bottled Water Lie.” We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

                I want to begin with Gigi Kellett. Talk about Pepsi's admission.

                GIGI KELLETT: Well, after a couple of years of our Think Outside the Bottle campaign, we have been asking of the bottled water corporations to come clean about where they get their water, what is the source of the water that they're bottling, because most people don't know that Pepsi's Aquafina, Coke's Dasani, comes from our public water systems. And so, after thousands of phone calls, thousands of public comments submitted to the corporation, and us taking these demands directly to the corporation’s annual shareholder meeting this year, Pepsi last week made the announcement that it would reveal that it gets its water from our public water systems.

                AMY GOODMAN: Now, where exactly does Pepsi get it? Which public water supply?

                GIGI KELLETT: Well, that is the issue that we're really looking at next, is what cities are they bottling the water in. You know, here in Massachusetts, it's coming from Ayre, Massachusetts. So we want to make sure that on those bottles it says: “Public water source: Ayre, Massachusetts.” That way, people know exactly what they're getting when they're buying that Aquafina bottled water.

                AMY GOODMAN: Ayre being the name of a town in Massachusetts.

                GIGI KELLETT: Ayre is the name of a town, right. Exactly.

                AMY GOODMAN: And what happens to the town? They have their public water supply, and they have the plant for Pepsi?

                GIGI KELLETT: That's right. We want to make sure that -- you know, Pepsi has certainly taken a lead on this for the bottled water industry, and we want to make sure that Coke and Nestle also follow suit. One of the things that we're finding as we're talking to people about this issue on the street is that they don't know where the water is coming from. And the bottled water corporations have spent tens of millions of dollars on ads that make people think that bottled water is somehow better, cleaner, safer than our public water systems. And in reality, we know that that's not true. And so, we want to make sure that we're increasing our people's confidence in their public water systems once again and knowing that we need to be investing in our public systems.

                AMY GOODMAN: Gigi, can you go further who owns what? You mention Nestle. What does Nestle own?

                GIGI KELLETT: Nestle owns several dozen brands of bottled water. The bottled water brand they source from our public water systems is called Nestle Pure Life. They also own Poland Spring, Ozarka, Arrowhead. The list goes on. And regionally, it's distributed across the country. And then we also have Coca-Cola, which bottles Dasani water, and, or course, Pepsi with Aquafina.

                AMY GOODMAN: And when it comes to being tap water, what is the difference between plain tap water and distilled water from these public sources.

                GIGI KELLETT: Well, there's very little difference. You know, our public water systems go through a very rigorous testing and monitoring system and is tested by the Environmental Protection Agency. So we want to make sure that people know that our public water systems are much better regulated than these bottled water brands, which don't have to go through the same rigorous type of process.

                AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Gigi Kellett, associate campaigns director of Corporate Accountability International. Michael Blanding is a freelance writer, has written the piece "The Bottled Water Lie." Michael, what is the lie?

                MICHAEL BLANDING: Well, there are actually several lies, I think, that the bottled water companies perpetrate, but I think the main one is exactly what Gigi said, that this image bolstered by, you know, millions and millions of dollars of advertising that bottled water is somehow better for you, it tastes better, it's more pure. And in many cases, that's simply not true. People are paying, you know, enormous premiums for bottled water and don't even realize the fact that in many cases not only does tap water taste the same, but that it's actually more tightly regulated and actually healthier for you. There have been, you know, several cases of bottled water that's actually been contaminated and found to contain hazardous chemicals. And tap water, there’s actually, you know, a rigorous testing and monitoring of the water supply that actually in many cases makes it healthier.

                AMY GOODMAN: When we come back from break, I want to talk about some of those cases of contamination, but also talk about the community struggles that are working to take back their water supply. Our guests are Michael Blanding, wrote "The Bottled Water Lie," and Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International. Stay with us.
                [break]

                AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International and Michael Blanding, wrote “The Bottled Water Lie” for alternet.org. They're both in the Boston studio. We're talking about the bottled water lie.

                Now, Michael, you begin your piece by talking about Antonia Mahoney. Talk about who she is.

                MICHAEL BLANDING: She was someone who was just walking down the street in downtown Boston when the folks at Corporate Accountability -- Gigi and the folks in her group -- were holding something called the Tap Water Challenge, which was a taste test between tap water and various bottled water brands, Aquafina and Dasani. And I stood there during the afternoon and watched, you know, many people come up who were bottled water drinkers and could swear that they could tell the difference and that they could recognize their brand.

                And Antonia Mahoney was one of those who -- she actually had given off drinking bottle -- drinking tap water a few years ago and was drinking only Poland Spring and knew, you know, that she would be able to tell Poland Spring of all the other types of water that she was drinking there. And it turned out that what she thought was Poland Spring was actually the tap water from Boston, the good old tap water, which -- we actually have very good tap water that comes from western Mass here. So she was very surprised and shocked and decided right there that she was going to leave off her contract of paying $30 a month for Poland Spring water that she got delivered to her house. So it was very -- and there were other experiences like that during the day that I witnessed.

                AMY GOODMAN: Michael, you write about the problems of a suspected carcinogen chemical, bromate. You talk about the contamination of Dasani water, owned by Coca-Cola, in 2004. Explain what the problems are, the contamination issues.

                MICHAEL BLANDING: So, ironically, one of the processes that actually takes the tap water and purifies it -- it’s called ozonation -- can actually in some cases have a byproduct, which is bromate, which is, as you say, a suspected carcinogen. And the largest case of contamination was in the UK in 2004, right when Dasani launched in the United Kingdom. They had something like a half-million bottles of Dasani water actually found to be contaminated, and people were getting sick. And, you know, it's just indicative of the lack of controls and the lack of monitoring that you find with bottled water.

                And it's not an isolated case. There have been many others that have occurred. Most recently up in Upstate New York with an independent bottled water company, there were multiple cases of bromate contamination, as well.

                AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the issue of filtering? First of all, I don't know if people realize when something says “public water source” that it means tap water. But then, what it means for that tap water to be filtered to -- you talk about additional techniques like reverse-osmosis.

                MICHAEL BLANDING: Right, yeah. So there are various techniques that the companies use, and, you know, they tout them as these proprietary techniques that, you know, they go through seven different phases of filtering, and all the rest of it. And, you know, when you look at it, though -- you know, reverse-osmosis is the main one, which is basically just pushing water through a membrane to remove contaminants, and it's actually very similar to the type of process that can be found in home water filters, just, you know, the kind that you attach to your tap for a couple of hundred bucks. So, you know, the -- it's not as sophisticated as they might, you know, pretend that it is.

                AMY GOODMAN: And internationally, the movements, from Bolivia to Peru, La Paz, all over.

                MICHAEL BLANDING: Yeah. What's interesting is that, you know, here in the United States there are, you know, several communities that have actually, you know, had plants take a lot of water from their groundwater up in Michigan, you know, where they can actually see the water level of one of their streams declining because of, you know, the massive amount that Nestle was taking from their water.

                And it's even a more critical issue in other countries where water scarcity is a real problem, so places like India, where Coca-Cola and Pepsi have actually, you know, really depleted communities and farmers have been unable to grow their crops, it's kind of been a double whammy. They've taken the water, and then the water that they -- the waste water they've dumped back has been polluted, in many cases. And so, that's one issue, is just the depletion of water from the plants themselves.

                And then the other issue, which I know Gigi could talk about, is just the perception that comes across that somehow tap water is -- you know, municipal water is somehow, you know, not as good as water that's been privatized. And so, you have -- it sort of starts this steady creep of where privatization of water sources becomes OK. And there have been many communities, like in Bolivia, where water supplies have been privatized and have been sold back to -- water that was previously free has, you know, skyrocketed in price. And people have taken to the streets and protested and actually got the private companies to leave.

                AMY GOODMAN: Gigi Kellett, let's talk about the tainting of the image of the municipal water supply in this country, the effect of the bottled water advertising industry campaigns.

                GIGI KELLETT: Well, this is something that’s of real concern to our organization and our members and activists across the country, because we are seeing this -- you know, who are we turning to to provide our drinking water? And there are -- these bottled water corporations are spending tens of millions of dollars every year on ads that effectively undermine people's confidence in their water. There was actually a poll done by the University of Arkansas earlier this year that found young people tend to choose bottled water over tap water, because they feel it's somehow cleaner or better than their public water systems. And as we've already mentioned here, we know that in reality that's not true. So there is a real concern about the impact that these bottled water corporations are having on the way we think about water.

                And our Think Outside the Bottle campaign is aiming to change that, and we're having real success with cities like San Francisco and Ann Arbor, Michigan and New York City, taking a lead on putting their public water systems back in the forefront and not contracting with bottled water corporations, for example, like in Salt Lake City and in San Francisco. And we're seeing restaurants turn to the tap in lieu of bottled water. So there’s a lot that people are starting to look at in terms of this industry and what changes we can make to promote our own public water systems here in this country and make sure that they have the funding they need to thrive, and that also we're looking internationally to make sure that countries that may be cash-strapped also have the resources they need to have good, strong public water systems and not turn to privatization.

                AMY GOODMAN: Gigi, tell us about what happened in Salt Lake City and in San Francisco, with the mayor announcing that city money cannot be used to buy bottled water.

                GIGI KELLETT: That's right. You know, the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, after we had been working with his staff there, working with the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, they looked at how much money they were spending on bottled water every year. It was close to a half-million dollars. And they said, “We're the forefront. We're cities. We're the forefront of ensuring that people have access to good, safe, clean water. And we're also now at the forefront of dealing with the waste that results from the bottled water industry. So we need to take a stand as a city.” And in June, Mayor Newsom issued an executive order saying that the city would no longer be buying bottled water. And he joined with the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, and also the mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, to put forward a resolution at the US Conference of Mayors calling on a study to really look at what are the impacts of bottled water on our municipal waste. So it’s a real great leadership that we're seeing of these cities.

                AMY GOODMAN: And, Gigi, what about the effect that the water in the plastic bottle has? Is there any kind of leeching out? People think that they're getting healthier water in all sorts of ways, but what about the impact of that plastic?

                GIGI KELLETT: Well, there are a number of concerns about the impact of the plastic, yes, of course, in the leeching. These bottles that are made are single-serve bottles, so they're not intended to be reused, because of the potential for leeching of the plastic into -- you know, when you're drinking the water. And then, of course, there are the environmental impacts of the bottles that are ending up in our landfills and on the side of the road as litter. They're not being recycled. Only about 23% of these plastic bottles are being recycled. So it's a huge impact for our environment and, of course, for people's health. So we want people to be looking at turning back to the tap and thinking outside the bottle.
                AMY GOODMAN: You talked about international, and we're going to go international now to El Salvador.

                http://www.democracynow.org/article..../08/01/1435240
                URGENT!!! your help is badly needed - fundraising for marriage

                Comment

                Working...
                X