This Panorama special investigates the environmental cost of the bottled water industry.
Across the world it may be the case that over a billion people do not have access to clean drinking water but in the UK bottled mineral water is becoming a popular supplement to tap water. Last year the industry was worth close to £2 billion and it’s predicted to grow by 30% over the next five years. Across the world hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted by transporting the water to the consumer, and about 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture the PET bottles. When the bottle is thrown away, that’s not the end of the matter. Only one in four plastic bottles in the UK household waste stream are recycled, with almost two thirds of them going into landfill sites where they would take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down. And increasingly plastic is making its way into our seas. There is a mass of plastic off the west coast of the USA estimated to be the size of Texas. But the industry is still set to explode. Luxury brands like Fiji water have seen their business quadruple in the last few years, and are now producing 600,000 bottles a day with exports of 98%. This is from an island where 35% of people do not have access to clean drinking water. Could bottled water be a triumph of marketing over common sense?... Read more.