The growing business with bottled drinking water is undermining the Sustainable Development Goals on access to water for all, according to a new United Nations report. The industry is "not strategically aligned with the goal of providing universal water," the Canada-based UN Institute for Water, Environment and Health said on Thursday.
An expansion of the bottled water supply, especially in poorly developed countries, could lead to the general access to clean water not being sufficiently expanded, while the producers of bottled water make money. From 2010 to 2020 alone, the volume of business grew by 73 percent – this trend is forecast to continue.
Enormous costs, enormous waste
"This points to a global case of extreme social injustice, with billions of people worldwide without access to reliable water services while others enjoy water luxury," it said in a statement. While bottled water in industrialized countries is considered healthier and tastier and thus more of a luxury product, the sale of bottled drinking water in poorer countries is driven by the lack of public water supply. Lack of investment and corruption are often responsible for these problems.
Bottled water can cost 150 to 1000,2021 times as much per liter as tap water, the report said. Worldwide, 350 billion liters of water were bottled in 270, with sales of 25 billion US dollars. 40 million tons of plastic waste were created – equivalent to a chain of 150-ton trucks from New York to Bangkok. In terms of per capita consumption of bottled water, Germany ranks 2021th in the world with more than 10 litres per year (in <>), behind the USA and ahead of Italy.
According to the United Nations, the findings of the study are based on analyses from more than 100 countries. On 22 March, World Water Day, the UN Water Conference starts in New York. The aim is to examine the extent to which internationally agreed goals, including the UN Sustainable Development Goal on access to clean water for all, can be achieved. Worldwide, two billion people – one in four – do not have clean water.