BOSCO MARTÍN

Bottled or tap?

With clean tap water a guarantee in most countries, bottled water should not be a thing

ANDREW J. LINN

We are slaves to bottled water. How often do we see elderly people whose doctors have told them not to lift anything heavier than a wine glass, transferring huge packs of bottled water from the supermarket trolley to their car boots?

They are the victims of the bottled water delirium that is sweeping every first world, and many second world, countries. Apart from the fact that these people apparently have more money than sense, they labour under the illusion that bottled water is better than tap water. They are mistaken.

The safety and purity of tap water is guaranteed by law in almost every jurisdiction.

So, what is wrong with bottled water? Plastic containers leach chemicals over time, and BPA, the most used material, may be harmful.

They can take 450 years to decompose. We should also study the labels carefully: descriptions like purified or mineral water mean nothing legitimately and offer no safeguards.

Allegedly 25% of bottled water comes from the tap. Nestlé, with production centres worldwide, has cornered water rights in hundreds of countries, endangering the future of regions where water is scarce.

The Swiss multinational makes billions of euros annually from water sales, and in countries like Ethiopia and Nigeria nomads' herds are dying of thirst.

The sanctification of bottled water is indefensible. Any restaurant with a water sommelier should reexamine its motives.

Customers who request agua del grifo (tap water) are ridiculed for not wanting to pay for overpriced products, but we can learn something from the Americans, who usually drink tap water when eating without question.