The Story of Bottled Water, released today, World Water Day 2010, tells the story of manufactured demand — how corporations get people to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap.
Just over five minutes in length, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces.
The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
Since 1993, International World Water Day has been held annually on 22 March to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Every year, more people die from the consequences of unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. Clean, safe, and adequate freshwater is vital to the survival of all living organisms and the resilience of ecosystems, communities, and economies. However, the quality of the world’s water is increasingly threatened as human populations grow, industrial and agricultural activities expand, and climate change threatens to cause major alterations of the hydrologic cycle.
An investment of US$20 million in low-cost water technologies, such as drip irrigation and treadle pumps, could lift 100 million poor farming families out of extreme poverty, according to the report, ‘Clearing the Waters: A Focus on Water Quality Solutions'. It adds that repairing leaky water and sewage networks can also secure not only supplies but reduce pollution and generate employment. In some developing countries, 50-60 per cent of treated water is lost to leaks and globally an average of 35 per cent is lost. By some estimates, saving just half of this amount would supply water to 90 million people without further investment.
But while there are solutions, much more needs to be done, notes the UNEP report. The facts are:
- Globally, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are poured into the world's waters every day;
- At least 1.8 million children under five years-old die every year from water-related diseases, or one every 20 seconds;
- Every day, millions of tons of inadequately treated sewage and industrial agricultural wastes are poured into the world's waters;
- Over half of the world's hospital beds are occupied with people suffering from illnesses linked with contaminated water.