Corporate Accountability International (CAI) surveyed five states (Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon) and found that taxpayers in those states are shelling out between $78,000 and $475,000 a year for government to buy bottled water, a resource that essentially flows free from public taps. CAI blames the marketing and promotion of bottled water for successfully frightening people about tap water quality and driving them towards bottled water. Bottled water ad campaigns have convinced one in five people that the only place to get clean drinking water is from a bottle. Fiji brand water, for example, ran an ad campaign ridiculing the tap water quality in Cleveland, Ohio, so Cleveland did taste and purity tests on its public water and compared them to Fiji water. The tests revealed that Fiji water contained 6.3 micrograms of arsenic per liter, while the city's tap water had none. Fiji also lost in taste tests against Cleveland's tap water. Bottled water costs 2,000 times what tap water costs, and up to 40 percent of mass-produced bottled water brands, like Aquafina and Dasani, originate from the same source as tap water. What's more, tap water is subject to more regulations than bottled water. The manufacture and disposal of millions of plastic water bottles is a problem, too -- the process uses enough oil to fuel three million cars for a year, and about 80% of used water bottles go into landfills. The rest get incinerated causing more pollution. As people become more aware of the unneccessary expense and environmental problems caused by bottled water, companies like Nestlé are fighting back with campaigns portraying bottled water as "Earth-friendly", and touting the company's "environmental stewardship."
By Anne Landman on March 25, 2010