Thursday, April 20, 2006

why bottled water/colas?

As many other sectors and products, the bottled water and cola industry is rapidly growing in India (and as in many cases, mostly catering to the urban folk).

Bottled water/soft drinks amongst other things require plastic, oil, pesticides, chemicals, infringe on limited natural water resources. Many of the soft drinks don't have any nutritional value. Studies have even found high levels of pesticides in these drinks.

then why bottled water and colas?

my thoughts on possible reasons ...
  • Water quality
    But till just 5 years back there was hardly any bottled water and so many still don't drink it---are they suffering or did we due to unbottled water? Further, there were no regulations on bottled water quality till sometime back (am not sure about now) and pesticides were found in tests, so it is not that bottled water is the *best*.
  • "Coolness" factor
    If you don't drink bottled water/colas you don't belong to *the* class.
  • Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai say so (possibly related to above)
  • Who was time to think about such things? It is convenient, just *enjoy* it.
  • Suits my taste buds!

    Diana said...

    I think people consider it to be more cool n belonging to the upper class....and ya it has been popularised by the media itself...otherwise hw will a common man prefer drinking a cola rather than a nutritious coconut?

    Maruthi Ramesh Nallapati said...

    not very clear to me why one should be opposed to the whole bottled-water cola industry in general. Ofcourse, when incidents like Coke exploiting a village's water resources occur, it definitely makes sense to object. I see a point in environmental damage due to plastic usage too. This can be rectified by having an effective recycling policy as in the US. However it is not clear to me that I should oppose the whole industry in general. Who am I to oppose if some people decide to drink colored water containing pesticides instead of nutrition giving coconut water? All one can do is to provide the right information. After all, it's the individual's choice, isn't it? For that matter how is Coke different from the colored soda that is so prevelant in rural + urban India, except that it is packaged and marketed in a more "cool" way?

    Purushottam said...

    Ramesh---ofcourse it is upto each individual to make a decision. I was wondering why we make that choice (of drinking bottled water/colas) inspite of they being energy-intensive (use of plastic, pesticides, tranport, oil, resource infringement etc.). Moreover, bottled water/colas were not a major market in India as early as a decade ago---so wanted to know what is the basic reason that the demand is rising in double digits every year.
    Also, the economics of water is skewed, the water that bottling companies draw from the ground is *free* (am almost sure on that, but will verify) and Coke uses about 6 litres to make 1 litre of its cola---am not sure what the ratio is for bottled water. But it seems that having a good public distribution system (atleast for water) would be a good idea to manage the diminishing freshwater resource.

    Further, as far as the question of opposing bottled water, I think sooner than later we will have to take a stand on the issue. Water is rapidly being treated as commodity and not as a human right. The basic questions being---who owns water? does anyone have the right to hand it over for sale & profit? The corporates want to use water to make profits, while there are those who believe it is the essence of life (a basic right) and all are entitled to equal access and share equal responsibility in its use and preservation.