Are “The Facts” given a little Spin?
Online Education has a great new infographic on bottled water. I think it’s good, but I do have a couple of issues with it. There’s no denying that bottled water is a real scourge from an environmental point of view.
Look at the graphic, read my critique, and do let me know what you think!
Bottled water is a billion-dollar industry, and the implication seems to be that it makes vast profits for the manufacturers. I’m sure it does – but I don’t believe we should blame the manufacturers. They may have ‘created’ demand for bottled water, but let’s be honest here, no one is holding a gun to any consumer’s head and saying “drink bottled water, or else……”.
Online Education say that the regulations are stricter for tap water than for bottled water. I agree. Different agencies look after tap and bottled water (in the US, it’s the EPA and FDA respectively) so there are bound to be differences in approach, but it does seem unfair. Regarding the health of bottled water versus tap, there are as many studies for as there are against.
The other issue I have with the infographic is that it says that 40% of bottled water is tap water. Now, that is probably true (I’ve read studies giving different figures) but it seems to me to imply that the manufacturers simply put tap water straight into bottles. In most cases, manufacturers do actually apply some form of filtration to the water first. (The amount of processing, and the additives as well as the things taken out of the water, varies considerably). So while factual, I’m not entirely comfortable with the implication. Personally, I prefer a more accurate rather than a more emotional statement.
I don’t quite get the logic behind saying that a lack of clean drinking water elsewhere in the world implies we shouldn’t drink bottled water. Whether we drink bottled water or not, there will be people in the world who will suffer without clean water. Short of donating money or volunteering, we’re unlikely to change that. Sadly.
But look, even if I don’t agree with some of the arguments used, I do totally agree with the sentiment. Drinking – and paying hugely for – bottled water IF you have good quality water coming from your tap, is one of the worst things an individual can do for the environment.
You see, I worry that someone – who might otherwise be convinced – may read the infographic, disagree with some of the ‘facts’ and disregard the overall message as a result.
But perhaps I’m over-reacting. Perhaps people just skim a message and don’t think too much about it. What do you think?
I’ll follow up on this article with more interesting ideas as well as alternatives if you don’t like the taste of your tap water or are concerned about its ingredients.
Other interesting articles on water filters: