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    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    Drinking Water - from the Bottle or the Tap

    Drinking water is a hot issue - in many countries water supply is a scarcity and challenges pertaining to water quantity affect people's lives enormously - girls being kept out of school to fetch water, not enough potable water sources for the millions, babies who are suffering and dying, as we speak, from diarrhoeal diseases attributed to polluted drinking water sources, etc.

    In other countries, the issue is water quality. There is enough drinking water to go around and as such, wastage and quality are issues that affect children. For example, who does not keep the water running while brushing their teeth? Who among us do not flush a tissue down the toilet with a full tank or water? Who among us does not buy bottled water, or have a portable water filter for drinking purposes?

    As I might have shared with you, I spent decades with the United Nations working with communities providing drinking water, latrines for hygienic fecal disposal, with the aim of influencing health behavior in this area of clean water, good hygiene habits and affordable sanitation.

    Once we understand that our body is over 70% water and that water controls virtually every aspect of our health, we can begin to understand its importance. Not just the water we drink, but the water that we shower in... cook with... prepare juices, teas and coffee with... all affect our health significantly.

    Thus the issue of potable drinking water is near and dear to my heart.

    Today, we will talk about bottled water, the pros and cons and cost factors. Please note that Muriella's Corner shares information for your knowledge only; decision making or what you do with the information is entirely up to you.

    Most of the information below is from the National Defence Resoures Council and the Environmental Working Group.

    Water, of course, is essential to human health. Drinking enough water to replace whatever is lost through bodily functions is important. Are we drinking enough?If we are not, is it because we do not trust tap water and cannot afford to buy enough bottled water? At work, after a workout, or just about any time, statistics show , according to the FDA Consumer Magazine that Americans are drinking bottled water in record numbers--a whopping 5 billion gallons in 2001, according to the International Bottled Water Association. That's about the same amount of water that falls from the American Falls at Niagara Falls in two hours.

    Millions and millions of dollars are spent each week on advertising campaigns assuring the purity and quality of bottled water, which in return bring in to the bottled water industry billions and billions of dollars. According to the World Wildlife Fund, that could amount to about $22 billion dollars a year, despite the fact that, in some cases, bottled water may be no healthier than tap water. WWF believes that people use bottled water because people were worried about pollution (chemicals in the tap water, which we will talk about in another podcast on Water), while on the other hand, the environment becomes polluted with the toxic chemicals that are released in the manufacturing and production of 1.5 million tons of plastics used to bottle water each year. Does recycling help?

    I will stop here today and leave you with the numbers mentioned earlier as regards bottled water - In 2001 - over 5 billion gallons of bottled water was consumed (the same amount of water gushed from the Niagara Falls in two hours); the bottled water industry cashes in big time about $22 billion a year while releasing 1.5 million tons of plastic each year into the environment.

    Visit our blogs for more water issues - what's on tap - or rather what's in the tap water we drink; chemicals in water; bottled water vs tap water; toxic taps...

    Muriella's Corner