February 18, 2008 by  
Filed under News

Tap waterPanorama is a long running (started in 1953), current affairs documentary programme. It is hard hitting and topical and over the years has focussed on such items as the Martin Bashir’s interview with Diana, Princess of Wales; allegations of corruption in English football; effects of using the anti-depressant Seroxat; and a focus on Scientology.

Tonight’s Panorama obtained a lot of media attention and examined the popularity of bottled water, apparently we spent £2 billion on bottled water last year. The programme looked at the conflict between the availability of clean tap water in the UK, the spending on bottled water and the fact that some people in the World have no regular supplies of safe tap water.

In Claridge’s Hotel in London, over 30 different types of water are sold including one called “Cloud Water” which was rain water. A set of wine sommelier were asked to taste a range of waters and rank them according to taste– tap water scored highly.

People were asked why they bought bottled water and various reasons were given such as taste, bottled water being easier to carry around and the perception that bottled water is healthier as it has more minerals.

Panorama informed us that tap water and bottled water reach us in different ways – tap water through taps , whilst bottled water is bottled and shipped. The carbon footprint for each type of water was examined. Thames tap water produces 0.3 g of carbon footprint per litre of water, as compared with 188g per litre of Volvic water (from France). Energy is used to produce the bottles, transport them and dispose of them. Only 1 in 4 bottles are used again with most ending up in landfill sites. Plastic lasts for hundreds of years and has an effect on wild life

On the Claridge’s water menu “Fiji water” was available and does come from Fiji. It is one of Fiji’s main exports with the main markets being the United States and Europe (it is available in Harrods). However, around a third of Fijian’s do not have safe tap water and there are hundreds of cases of typhoid as villages use the local (dirty) streams as their water source.

There is hope though as a new breed of water companies are dedicated to more ethical production of bottled water. A company in Shropshire have degradable bottles, re-use energy and don’t transport abroad

Viewers were encouraged to drink tap water and carry it in flasks or re-usable bottles.

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