Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Bottled Conundrum


Due thanks to my friend Neha for sharing this article on facebook!
It's About TIME! Every Bottled drink seller has been ripping us off, taking away the precious natural resource from right under our feet and selling it back at insane profits! Why else would it be a multi-billion dollar industry.. guess who's bearing all those costs! Thanks for sharing this!

A few months ago I came across a disturbing fact and delivered a speech on it : the groundwater levels in our country are vanishing; and strangely enough, they're vanishing by nearly the same amount as the increase per year in volumes of sales of the various bottled drinks in the country!

Some not-so-common common sense applied:
You cannot create drinking water out of thin air.
(at least not in these volumes!)

The bottled companies - every one of them - coke, pepsi, bisleri, tropicana, frooti, fana, sprite, red bull - yes, EVERY single drink that you can buy off the shelf in liquid form : Where do you think their main ingredient : Drinking water : is coming from? If they were purifying an unpotable resource (like, say, industrial waste), the COST of purification alone would send their costs up way over affordable levels. Even rainwater harvesting cannot account for the total volume that they're selling today. So what, do you think, they do?

It's simple. They suck up all the groundwater. Now finally some research has gone into proving this simple common sense fact - They are sucking out the nation's LIMITED groundwater supply for FREE (no one is charging them on quantity of water taken - they just install a pump on a well and that's it!), bottling it and selling it back to us!

The real cost?
Have you noticed that drinking or even bathing/washing water has been getting scarcer and more and more expensive? Where I stay, we need water tankers delivering it from far, far away. And when do you think this trend started?
Wake up! We're already PAYING for it! And then we're... #$#@$#@$ paying them AGAIN for buying the bottled drinks that they filled by fleecing us in the first place!!! AARHGHGHH!!

And guess who pays the ultimate price in this game: It's the common man, and the lower strata of society. They lost access to naturally available groundwater due to burgeoning middle class India's thirst for soft drinks and bottled water which the poor cannot afford. We are KILLING our own PEOPLE everytime we buy a soft drink! You're not going to like reading his, but this is what it is.

So what can we do? Well, it's simple, isn't it? We must stop buying what these bastards have been pushing into our faces, that too with our top stars endorsing them all the way to the bank! I can live without a soft drink, but my less fortunate brothers and sisters will DIE without drinking water. This much is simple and no SRK or AB or Roshan or Kapoor even Tendulkar can counter it. (now here some people will altogether forget the whole issue, get completely side-tracked and start rattling, "hey! don't attack my fav celebrity!" This is why these companies hired them, silly! To distract you! Think about it!)

The road ahead:
1. Aquaguard, PureIt, Swach, and a host of other water purifiers actually give better water than any bottled drinking water. Check out: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/bottled-water-illusions-of-purity So go get one if you don't have it. They actually work better than you think!

2. Need a tasty drink? Make your own! The flavor ingredients are readily available in powder form - these companies just create the illusion of quality to make you buy only their drinks. Cola, rasna, Tang - it's all there - buy it, mix it with the water you got from point 1 and voila!

3. Make this the law of the land : Declare Potable groundwater as a limited national resource, just as fossil fuels are. Taking the present-day cost of drinking water, put that price on every single profit-making company that extracts groundwater - price them by the Volume that they extract. The data on absolute volume that every bottling plant produces is readily available - these guys cannot hide it - Send them the bill - the REAL cost that they were passing off to the nation's poor! Then you'll see how that pepsi bottle shoots from Rs.20/- to well over Rs.100! Don't crib when this happens - you're not supposed to be wasting your children's future water for your personal leisure anyways.

4. Like that panel in Kerala has done, start taking action against each and every bottling plant in the country - the data of how much water they've sucked out is already available (in their own published reports, that too!). Blow a litigation hole into this multi-billion dollar fleecing project so deep that every MBA and professional worth his/her salt thinks twice before joining their ranks ever again!

We can shift our Indira Nooyi's to other industries that don't suck the nation dry. But the country's talent needs to know that THIS, is just not done. All the best aerated sodas in the world will not quench your thirst when you really get thristy; they will not wash your hair or your body or your clothes nor keep you hygenic. We need our water more than we need this stuff, no matter what your favorite celeb tells you. Make the choice today, or our kids are going to suffer the consequences tomorrow.

1 comment:

Nikhil Sheth said...



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