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People's infatuation with drinking expensive water, which in essence is just but natural from a bottle, rather than one from a tap is contributing to many negative effects such as global warming and can also be termed as an immoral act. So far there has been substantial information and misinformation about this issue of bottled water together with its values and beneficial effects. First people need to look at all those unnecessary costs that go into making a bottle of drinking water. Then ways in which such a bottle will be disposed. If these issues are understood then one will no doubt have an inkling about the effects of bottled water, be they negative or positive. Then there is the moral side of the debate, water is supposed to be a free resource, one that all living things were given freely by their creator. Therefore no one has any authority to claim ownership and subsequently make profits out of it.
There is no doubt therefore that bottled water is totally unethical. Over 8 billion gallons of bottled water are used every year in the United States alone. This amounts to about $11 billion in sales alone. Research has found out that making the plastics that in turn used to make the bottles, requires an estimated 1.5 million oil barrels. This is oil that is enough to fuel more than 100,000 cars in one year. Averagely, the cost that goes into the making of the plastics, processing, filling the bottles, transporting the bottled waters to the respective markets and then dealing with the waste. This is like filling every bottle a quarter ways with the oil. And when one learns that almost 90% of all these bottles are never recycled, one can only imagine their effects especially in terms of pollution keeping in mind that these materials are non biodegradable. This bring about one ethical issue comes up especially when you consider a world economy where 1 billion people don't have access to safe water for drinking while others are spending billions of dollars on one bottled product that is no clean, harms people and pollutes the environment. This same product costs the consumer 2,000 times more than the clean tap water. People should drink tap water, and if the taste does not please you, then you better buy yourself a filter (Caplan, 2007).
When one puts aside the high cost of markup and the pollution that comes with its production and production, the bottles are just single-use recyclable, that's they can only be used once for food products, and then are converted into non-recyclable materials like synthetic fabrics and carpets, keeping in mind that almost 90% are never recycled at all. All these and not forgetting the allegations about the leaching of toxins from the plastics into water sources. Another thing is about the inflated claims that bottled water is superior to tap water are not true. Much of these bottled waters come from the same source with tap water. In fact tap water is safer than bottled water because tests of safety are done to it regularly by the city water departments, whereas the testing practices of companies of bottled water are self-regulating and therefore fairly unknown to the public (Leonard, 2010).
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It is a shame that developed countries like the US which have high quality tap water are at the same time the largest markets for bottled water. This of course can be attributed by the many explanations given by the suppliers of bottled water, including the assertion that bottled water is cleaner and safer than tapped water. This, as it has been outlined above is not true, the bottled water companies are just but selling a vision of purity and the consumers are innocently buying it with the best intentions. The only thing these people don't realize is that bottled water is less regulated than tap water. A number of tests have found traces of arsenic, disinfection by products and also bacteria in bottled water. The US department responsible for regulating bottled water at one time recalled bottled water for a water company based in California after arsenic traces were found it the water. It also admitted that generally bottled water plants are usually given low priority for inspection (Stout, 2010).
There is no doubt that bottled water is the next big business. Forecasts are projecting more growth. This raise questions of ethics which has seen churches and religious organization coming up to oppose it. The industrial purchase, packaging and selling of a free resource, water, a basic resource, something that is done at relatively high prices, is considered unethical. This is taking advantage of people's innocence to sell to them something that is given free by God at enormously exorbitant prices (Paulson, 2007).
Water privatization is a contentious issue but is certainly not connected to bottled water. Bottled water companies do not force any of their customers to buy it. The claim that bottled water increases global warming because the processes involved in coming up with the final product causes pollution and the bottles pose a problem of disposal, is not sincere as this claim can be made to any beverage that is packaged, transported and sold in plastic bottles. It looks somehow unfair to only single out bottled water as the main contributor to global warming. Besides many bottled water companies use their proceeds to help poor communities that are hard hit by the world water crisis. They raise money for water projects in poor countries. A company like Ethos gives out five cents for every water bottle sold towards their goal of raising $10 million to start water projects in poor developing countries. The issue of privatizing water is at all bad provided its focus is primarily aimed at giving people an affordable access to safe water, and also reduction of the unnecessary use of bottled water to deal with its adverse environmental impacts. The demand of bottled water is the issue that poses the biggest problem because it is an issue that won't go away that easily. And where there is demand people will definitely look for ways of providing supply (Leonard, 2010).
Safe water for drinking can come from either a surface, spring, or groundwater source, or even direct from a tap. What this means is that the source of the water does not matter, what should be of concern is the purification process because it is aimed at removing all types of impurities and therefore the quality of the source will have no bearing whatsoever on the final product. Therefore if bottled water is well purified and packaged, then it might just be the safest water to take. Tap water mostly comes from streams and rivers that to a large extent recycle raw sewerage and other waste water. Therefore if there is any water that should be unsafe for drinking, then it is tap water (Ochel 2008).
Not all bottled water is pure because many bottled water companies go to extent of just of taking just the ordinary tap water and package it in small packages. This poses a health risk to the consumers, besides those of toxins that are found in the water due to poor packaging methods. Despite the claims that tap water may be contaminated, it still remains the best source of safe water and the most preferred by those who understand its advantages. It is also very much unethical to privatize and sell something that is naturally free. Therefore before anyone buys bottled water, he or she should pose and think about its true economic and environmental costs.