Research led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has found that bottled water’s environmental impact is 3,500 times higher than tap water’s. In a study conducted to determine bottled water’s impact in Barcelona, it was established that it is more costly both financially and ecologically when people use bottled water instead of tap water.
The study found that if all residents of Barcelona were to use bottled water, it would result in 3,500 times more resource extraction than tap water at a cost increase of $83.9 million. Research into this topic began after trends found that, despite robust investment into purifying Barcelona’s tap water, most residents prefer bottled water.
Besides bottled water’s impact on resources, researchers also found it to be more costly ecologically. They concluded that bottled water’s impact on ecosystems is 1,400 times higher than tap water.
As reported by The Guardian, this research is the first of its kind to examine bottled water’s impact in Barcelona. Although the study was only conducted in one city, the results could be replicated in other developed countries. In most countries, the cost of tap water is lower than that of bottled water.
According to ISGlobal researcher Cristina Villanueva and lead author of the study, the widescale use of bottled water in Barcelona does not have any health benefit. “Health reasons don’t justify the wide use of bottled water. Yes, strictly speaking, drinking tap water is worse for local health, but when you weigh both, what you gain from drinking bottled water is minimal. It’s quite obvious that the environmental impacts of bottled water are higher compared to tap water,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva says that this study may help change people’s perception of bottled water, but she argues that more has to be done in terms of policy formulation. Many people tend to use bottled water due to attractive marketing campaigns by bottled water companies. “We could have more education campaigns to make the public aware that the health gains from drinking bottled water are minor compared to the environmental impacts,” said Villanueva.
“People trust bottled water because advertisers have done a good job of convincing people it’s a good option, so we need the effort on the other side.”
Via The Guardian
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