Remember when water was free?
Before the plastic bottle surfaced, water was not typically thought of as a purchasable beverage. For example, restaurants normally served a glass for free before water in a bottle took over.
Now it is a different story.
Water is a profitable business. Many companies are on the water bandwagon, and making big gains on what some would say is at the expense of others.
This issue is likely to be resurfacing in global conversation, as many revisit and study marketing techniques and human rights, and the connection between the two.
One of the many issues with the bottled water industry is the fact that there are child fatalities that occur each day from the effects of exposure to contaminated water. Lack of safe water is an ongoing global concern, and many companies have been on a watch list for some time with organizations affiliated with business ethics and human rights.
Many documentary films have also been made that investigate this issue. Among them is a film titled Bottled Life which explores how water became a billion dollar moneymaker for the Nestlé corporation.
Another film, The Story Of Bottled Water, takes a close look at the so called “convenience factor” of the plastic bottle, and how safe, reliable water should be on tap for all.
Scrutiny is nothing new for huge companies, but their marketing techniques in particular have been widely analyzed according to some critics because of the way they seem to make it look like they have the answer to the global water crisis, all in a convenient bottle that is resold to the communities that it is harvested from for a profit.
Sometimes the area where water is sourced is surrounded by entire regions that lack sanitary water resources. Many cannot even afford to buy bottled water due to its expense, leaving them to rely on risky water purchased from street vendors, or boiling dirty water. The water can even be infested with “water worms” and cannot be boiled all of the time due to the expense of the burning supplies.
While one company alone cannot provide clean water for all of those who lack it, one question at the front of the debate lineup is that can’t more be done by those who make large profits from what is a natural resource to ensure that others have access to it also? Although companies like Nestlé do respond to the continuing criticism and state that they do provide services, like teaching resources and community service, could more services also be available to teach ethics and humanity instead of focusing on proceeds and turnover?
Groceries and living expenses are difficult enough for many to attain each month without having to factor water into the budget, too.
What may look like a successful corporate story may not appear that way to affected communities. Water should be a human right, not a purchasable right.
For more information, the Water Cache Blog has compiled a list of 10 noteworthy documentaries on the topic of the global water crisis, human rights efforts and the role that big companies can play in the controversy.
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