Go Green: Skip the Packaged Drinking Water

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We are all restless people, always on move! We spend so much time out of our homes: in college, at office, we hang out a lot too. And if we are to carry water with us, how much of it can we carry at all? Maximum  1 litre. This 1 litre of water is nothing if the Sun shines terribly over our heads or if the drinking water available around us is not ‘drinkable’ at all.

In such a situation we love to buy that packaged bottle and quench our thirst. Often we also appreciate that the bottled water seems tasty (even I have done so too!). When the water at our workplace does not seem to be alright for drinking purpose then we choose to pay money instead of hampering with our health. But do we realise that we are doing more harm than good? We not only consume the harmful components in that so-claimed ‘pure’ and ‘untouched’ water, but we do even worse with the environment. My dear readers, do you seriously think that you are gulping down only pure water with added nutrients and minerals? Well, think again! For your pack of bottle most probably contains arsenic, dissolved solids, pesticides, coliform(rod-shaped bacteria) and even disinfectants! If you think that you might have misread something just now then read again and again as you please! But it’s the fact. And it might also be possible that a packaged bottle contains some set of radioactive elements! Yes, you guessed right. I am talking about those xenon, krypton, radon etc. which are notorious for being dangerous.

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Trust me, getting a RO installed in your home is far better option than relying on those ‘easy-to-get’ packaged water. Many research organisations have conducted various experiments on the packaged water bottles out in the market. The results have been shocking at times. Back in July 2009, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published one such result. They investigated around 200 popular bottled water brands and found that found that hardly 2-3 out of them revealed their true ingredients, chemical composition, water’s source, their procedures of purifying water, chemical pollutants  added etc. And among those of the brands who disclosed their ingredients to some extent, they did not even bother to mention their amount in the correct range. Few of the brands even contained as many as 35 or more pollutants. The level of carcinogens discovered exceeded the levels claimed by the manufacturers.

Isn’t it ironic and astonishing that people spend a lot on packaged bottles for the sake of their health and what they actually get is more harm than before? The true story behind many ‘natural’ and ‘pure’ labelled bottles is that they have been processed through basic filters which remove bad taste and odours but not the harmful contaminants.

In the amazement that the above mentioned information might have given to you, do not overlook the problems that the plastic of these bottles creates for the environment. Read on to find out.

All bottled water contains that in a significant amount which has posed a serious threat to the environment and you guessed that right- it’s the Plastic!

In the production of plastic used in bottled water, more than 1.5 million barrels of crude oil is used annually. More than 65 million plastic water bottles are thrown away each day. Just imagine the huge amount of non-biodegradable plastic that is being accumulated in our environment daily. To make the situation worse I have another bad fact for you, hardly a very minute part of this waste is recycled. So, many bottles result in clogging of landfills.  And those bottles who are recycled are not the fortunate one either. Recycling may not always be ideal for our ecosystem. In this case it is too much labour-demanding, expensive and needs a lot of fuel to get burnt. Hence in this case, reducing manufacturing seems more suitable.plasric bottles

All the plasticizers generally added in plastic bottles in order to make   bottles more strong and flexible, does more harm than good. They contain compounds like ‘Phthalates’ which are known for their ‘hormone disrupting’ and/or ‘hormone mimicking’ compounds. BPA or Bisphenol A is another dangerous component of which the plastic of bottle could be possible made of. This chemical compound can badly damage the reproductive system. Are you wondering that just because these compounds are present in bottle and not in the water and so your water is free from them? Then mind you, these compounds can leach into bottle over time! Dioxin is one such example. It is a toxic substance which is released in the water if the bottle is left in Sun for long. And this compound has been strongly linked to the development of breast cancer.

Human body is made up of 80% water and we can’t even survive for a few days without water. We only know the mantra of drinking 8 glasses of water daily, but it’s not only the quantity but also the quality and hence the source of water which matters.

Hence, I am not only encouraging you to stop buying packaged bottles but also to stop using those ‘Fancy re-useable plastic bottles’ as well. No matter in which form you use it, plastic is plastic and it is the need of the hour to put a full stop on its use. From now onwards try to avoid buying bottled water as much as you can and start carrying steel bottle with you. And still if you buy bottled water, remember that you are not only paying for the water but for the outer bottle, label and cap. And coming to the water inside it, it might just be the municipal tap water!

About Author

Sagarika Taneja is a Chemistry honours student at University of Delhi. She is passionate about science and writing. A true nature lover by heart, she loves to write on environmental topics and health related stuff the most.

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