Nestlé and War for Our Water

Billions of Plastic Bottles end up in the Worlds Oceans

by Jamison Maeda  In our present era of natural disasters, disease, war, and poverty, it’s difficult to imagine that humanity’s biggest threat is actually the bottled water industry. This sounds like hyperbole or sensationalist fear mongering. How could bottled water be as serious a threat as war or disease? To answer that question you have to understand where bottled water comes from.

The short answer is, it comes from your community’s water supply.

The global bottled water industry is a multi-billion market and is rapidly expanding. The main players are Coke, Pepsico, and Nestlé. Nestlé controls nearly three fourths of bottled water brands.

But where do Nestlé and the other companies get their water?

Early one morning in 2005, dozens of tanker trucks rolled into Fryeburg, Maine. Nestlé purchased a piece of land, dug a well, and set up a water loading station. Nestlé can pump out as much water as it desires and pay no fees or taxes on it. That water is then bottled and sold for many times more than it cost Nestlé to pump. A Fryeburg citizen’s group opposed the draining of their water supply and tried to regain control of it. They were sued by Nestlé five times.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Pepsi pumped out 400,000 gallons of water a day during the severe drought in 2007. Local residents were forced to conserve water and could be fined for violating water restrictions, but Pepsi continued to pump water. Pepsi pumped 118 million gallons out of Atlanta’s water supply during the same drought. And now in drought-stricken California, Coke and Pepsi are pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from municipal water sources to bottle and sell all across the continent.

On the other side of the planet in Pakistan, Nestlé set up a pumping station near the village of Bhati Dilwan, and groundwater levels have fallen to the point that local residents are now left with nothing but sludge.

The mass pumping of local water resources affects residents, local farming, fish populations, and wetlands. But when questioned about this, Nestlé’s chairman said that “access to water is not a public right.”

In addition to the issue of taking water from ordinary people and selling it,  the empty bottles are choking the planet to death. Billions of pounds of plastic water bottles have ended up in our oceans. Americans alone throw away over 35 billion plastic water bottles each year. In one year as many as 2 million tons of water bottles end up in U.S. landfills. And it takes over 50 million barrels of oil to pump, process, and transport bottled water every year.

But there are alternatives.

UK based water brand One Water donates its profits to providing clean water to developing countries and so far has dontated over £10 million. Other companies such as Belu, Thirsty Water, Life Water, Fairbourne Springs, and People Water pledge to do the same.

Another alternative to bottled water is tap water. Tap water is 2,000 times less energy-intensive than bottled water, it’s hundreds of times cheaper, and in developed countries it is regulated and tested much more than bottled water. Bottled water is, for the most part only tested and regulated by the bottled water companies themselves. In the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration has one person in charge of bottled water safety, and that’s not her only job. Half of one person is responsible for the safety of all bottled water in the United States.

An estimated 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. Those of us who do must carefully consider our options, because clean drinking water is absolutely a human right. When we allow giant, global corporations to take water from our local sources and sell it back to us, we relenquish control of a very precious resource. And when we select water bottled in Maine, or California, or Fiji, instead of water from our own tap, we negatively affect the environment. And that will affect all of us.

Article source: