The question of “With tap water being just as healthy, why are some citizens living in developed countries such as Australia still buying bottled water?” was one of the topics of discussion at the World Science Festival in Brisbane, Queensland. According to scientists, one of the reasons is that because the industry world has successfully convinced consumers that bottled water is better.
In Queensland itself, the amount of bottled water purchased by consumers reaches the staggering number of 1.6 billion every year. According to Professor Gay Hawkins, from the Western Sydney University, an expert in social and cultural problems, who was currently studying the ever-growing market of bottled water, right now 22 percent of the trash collected every year from the beach is plastic bottle waste. He also said that those who live in Australia are actually very lucky because they live in a country where the government is both efficient and effective and is able to provide Australians with water that is safe for consumption. Water should not be treated as a commodity because it is a common resource.
Is It True That Bottled Water Is Safer ?
In the panel discussion during the festival, it was disclosed that the reason why some citizens who buy bottled water and do not want to drink tap water is because of the presence of chemicals, such as fluoride and chlorine.
The presence of fluoride in water has long been a topic of debate, with some community groups worried that the high levels of fluoride can be dangerous towards health. Dr. Frederic Leusch, an expert regarding soil and water, said that tap water can filter chlorine, but it cannot fully remove fluoride. One of the recommendations made by a research foundation from the United States is to use a filter because there is proof saying that chlorine is not good for the health and is toxic. He also said that there is a vocal group in Australia that is the presence of fluoride in tap water. A filter cannot remove fluoride from tap water. However, the truth is that water bought from the store also has chemicals in it due to the sterilization process is done to bottled water. Also, depending on the type of plastic bottle being used, some of those chemicals can enter the water, according to how long the bottle is left under sunlight. The longer that the water is left inside a plastic bottle, the higher chances of the chemicals from the plastic mixing with the water.
Why Do People Buy Bottled Water ?
Even though the reason behind people buying bottled water can be for its convenience, the marketing targeted to consumers also affect their willingness to pay for water. Marketers influence the perception of consumers towards water by using phrases such as “nature’s best” or words like “pure” when advertising their product when in truth the water can just tap water and not from the mountains like what the advertising says. One of the final words said at the World Science Festival was that consumers should be rational and realize that tap water can hydrate them just as well as tap water without the added waste.