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Bottled water and what’s wrong with western economics

Another post from the middle of 2020 but we are still carting lots of bottled water around and polluting the planet in so many ways by doing so.

There is a lot wrong with western first world economics but apart from individuals aware of the environmental issues that unfettered growth causes and a few rather left wing economists, the majority of humanity gives what is wrong little thought. After all there are few if any immediate consequences. So ask yourself what do you see wrong with this partly drunk bottle of water?

To start with it is bottled water hauled all over the planet using vasts amounts of fossil fuels and thereby causing additional CO2 emissions that would not be released if everyone drank tap. Now people might say that they don’t trust tap but how do you know the bottled water is any better than what comes out of the tap or worse? Maybe it’s all down to believing a brand and a dubious corporation over your local tap water utility company. So maybe a branding makeover might change some people’s minds.

Here however we see this expensive, in terms of financial but more importantly environmental cost water, about to be tipped down the drain because the customer has enough money and no thought about its real costs and so hasn’t finished it. The customer almost certainly didn’t think about the 800,000,000 people who cannot drink clean water each and every day. The customer probably didn’t even think about the nearby homeless people that are stepped over each day and how they get enough clean water to drink, let alone that huge number of people in far away lands.

Then of course there is the glass bottle, the raw materials, probably not locally sourced but imported, that have been turned into a container to take this very expensive water all the way from A to B. Much energy went into producing the bottle but it will be smashed and if lucky enough, using a lot more energy turned into another glass container. That energy use and the processes to make the glass almost certainly cause pollution of one sort or another so why wasn’t the bottle returned and reused instead of being broken?

It’s this misuse of raw materials and energy that recently saw a CO2 reading of 418ppm at the Mauna Loa research station. This is the highest level of CO2 since before this last series of ice ages start some 2.58 million years ago and the atmosphere is gaining CO2 at a rate not seen for 50 to 60 million years. If you are a climate change denier then you clearly live in some fantasy land.

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Author: Paul Noël

Author of books for children. Eight published so far and working on several others.

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