Have you ever wondered how consumers sees bottled water amid its adverse effect on the environment.
In fact, a new study suggested that consumers spent more than $100 million last 2015 for bottled water, huge away from 2010 statistics.
In Singapore, behind the country’s fast-growing economy, the nation also faces increasing the “threat” of bottled water.
Eventhough, Singapore has a clean tap water. People still consumed a “bulk” of amount for it.
Giving this as an example, Goh family goes through at least 12 1.5-litre bottles a week.
It is portable and convenient, but the big question is it really better than tap water and how true are the marketing claims?
We can’t deny the fact that getting clean water in Singapore is as easy as turning on the tap, yet retail outlets are awash with a wide array of bottled water.
According to the data from research firm Euro- monitor International shows the thirst for bottled water here is growing.
“Consumers spent $134 million on it in 2015, nearly 24 per cent more than in 2010.”
The alarming part is that, the country has more than 12 brands of bottled water are sold and more have recently been added to the shelves.
Last year, two brands of alkaline water were introduced at the Sheng Siong supermarket chain.
Alkaline water has higher-than- usual pH levels and is touted to have health benefits, though these have not been proven.
Meanwhile, based on the national water agency called PUB, about 1,000% tap water is cheaper than bottled water.
Experts say there are differences in the sources and treatment process, but it is difficult to say if one type is better than another.
They also emphasise that tap water in Singapore is safe for drinking.
Meanwhile, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) regulates the import of bottled water into Singapore.
AVA classifies brands into five types, based on the source and the way the water is treated. They are natural mineral water, packaged drinking water, mineralised drinking water, distilled water and spring water.
Dr. Wuang Shy Chyi, domain lead for water technology at Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Applied Science, said each type of water comes with its own set of claims.
When it comes down to the molecular level, all water is the same – H2O. The only difference is the presence or absence of minerals.
Associate Professor Richard Webster from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences said that tap water and bottled water should be of “very similar quality” after being treated. But there are differences in terms of where the water is sourced from and how it is subsequently treated.
As posted in Straits Times, the following types of bottled water are available in supermarkets:
Natural mineral water is extracted from underground sources and may contain small amounts of minerals.
Sometimes, minerals may be added to water and this is also considered as mineral water.
The water is treated through the process of distillation. This involves boiling the water and re-condensing it by cooling.
Water with pH levels above 7 are alkaline. Some studies have suggested that alkaline water can help with acid reflux, high blood pressure and diabetes. Bottled alkaline water from supermarkets carries claims of pH levels of 8 and above.
This category is a catch-all for water that is considered fit to be bottled for drinking. This includes water processed by reverse osmosis.
As of now, Purer, more balanced or providing health benefits – these are some claims that brands make.
In 2001, a report commissioned by World Wildlife Fund International said bottled water may not be safer than tap water, as there are fewer standards to conform to. However, this has been disputed by the International Bottled Water Association.
In fact, a study published on BMC Public Health Journal in 2004 suggested that water with minerals was found to lower the blood pressure of people with low urinary excretion of magnesium or calcium.
Generally, one should drink around eight glasses of water a day, with each glass holding 250ml of water.
Nowadays, bottled water or plastic as a whole raise environmental concerns.
The website of non-profit organization The Water Project states that these plastic bottles take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade, and they also produce toxic fumes if incinerated.
It also takes an estimated 3 litres of water to package a 1-litre bottle. And bottled water burns a bigger hole in the pocket too.