The Story of Bottled Water

story-of-bottled-water1Annie Leonard has pioneered a unique way of questioning our present way of life that is based on unnecessary and unsustainable consumption. Her 20 minute video ‘The Story of Stuff’ took the world by storm. Since then, it has been used as a tool for creating awareness at many forums, meetings and movements. It has awakened millions who people and some of them are now contributing to this growing movement that questioning our consumption behaviour.

In 2010, Annie made a short movie called ‘The Story of Bottled Water’.  The movie gives us a great insight into the genesis of bottled water industry in the US during the 1970s. The beverage industry began to realize that the growth is soda consumption is plateauing out and consumers were beginning to cut down on soda consumption due to health reasons.

So the industry ‘manufactured demand’ by scaring people about the quality of tap water; seducing them by ad campaigns with natural landscapes (which are put in more danger through such industrial activities); and misleading people about the plastic bottle waste.  Shiploads of plastic bottle waste is sent to places like Chennai in India where it is down-cycled to make other lower quality products that meet yet another manufactured demand for a short while soon to be trashed again. And the components that cannot be recycled are released here polluting local soil and groundwater.

She likens drinking bottled water as ‘Smoking while pregnant’

In India, our water is getting more and more polluted due to our reckless industrial and farm practices and by processing waste from other countries. Moreover, our water supply infrastructure is not able to cope with the growing demand from flood irrigation methods, industry and AC chillers at office blocks.

Bottled water seems like the only option in this scenario and that is what the local bottled water manufacturers and Coke and Pepsi will have you believe.  However, this is not true at all. The infrastructure to provide clean drinking water is very doable and not so investment heavy.

With a simple local solution of a borewell (with ground water recharging), an appropriate filtration system and a manned water station, we can easily provide clean drinking water to all in urban and rural areas.  In urban areas, one can think of further supplying this water in bubble tops to all the shops that sell bottled water. This water will be cheaper, higher quality (with adequate QA system) and less resource intensive.

All it needs is some investment and the will of few individuals to make it happen. Our sister organisation, amrutDhara is one such player that wants to make non-packaged high quality water available to all at affordable prices.

Join us in this initiative!

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