Bottled Water: How Corporate Greed Defies Human Rights

Bottled Water
Photo: albertkarimov / 123RF Stock Photo

Although 40% of all bottled water sold in the world are simply tap water, big corporations like Nestle believe that humans do not have a right to water: like all commodities, water should also have a price attached to it. Nestlé Chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck states that water should be privatized and treated as other foodstuffs. It would be extreme, as he thinks, to declare water a right. It is alleged that the world’s largest seller of bottled water has been playing foul in Michigan, Ontario, Pakistan, and many other places in restricting water access to poor communities. WHO and the UN as well as many other international agreements recognize water first as a basic human right and then as a resource to be used for sustainable development. Despite UN protection, water is now scarcely a right or resource: we are facing a global water crisis, and the corporations see the crisis as a great opportunity for investment. Extracting millions of gallons of water from different natural resources across the world at little to no cost, Nestle has been monopolizing the bottled water industry.

Bottled Water: Think Twice!

As bottling facts suggest, three liters of water is required to produce one liter bottled water, and the total bottles that Americans drink in a given year requires 17 million barrels of oil to make them and the process releases more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Question is when most Americans can get the water they drink from tap, why do they use bottled water? Bottled water sales are continuously rising and the current bottle-water industry in the US is worth more than $20 billion. Promoting bottled water as the safest form of drinking water has been heavily invested by the industry, and the result is astounding. Just imagine, despite tap water being federally regulated, many Americans use bottled water as their primary source of drinking water. Capitalizing consumer concerns, the industry has been successful in creating the myth of purity and safety labelled on the plastic bottles. As a study claims, “Bottled water may be no safer or healthier than tap water, while selling for up to 1,000 times the price.” In an average year, Americans discard 50 billion water bottles of which a major portion is not recycled. In Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, Elizabeth Royte shows how the most basic human need has been commercialized.

Bottled Water and Corporate Greed

In Secramento, Michigan, Ontario, Pakistan and many other places across the world, Nestle has been pumping public water into its “Pure Life” bottles and selling back to the public at a huge profit. Nestle pays less than an average resident user pays for water in the US and Canada, but sells the water back to the people. Nestle’s predatory water profiteering has been enraged people in the US, Canada, Lagos, and many other places. The famous documentary “Bottled Life” traces Nestle’s aggressive steps in taking control of the water sources in the US. Under the guise of “Corporate Social Responsibility,” Nestle has been stealing world’s water for a long time and now aims at dominating the global water market.  Nestle often takes advantage of the outdated water rights and purchase water resources and operates legally. With lobbyists in the governments, the company exerts both political and financial pressure on anyone who challenges the company. It is no wonder why the public water supply is deteriorating day by day! It pays only $3.71 a million liters of water it pumps out in Guelph, Ontario.

Corporate Greed, Drought, and Wild Fire:

The severe droughts in California and British Columbia in recent years are directly connected with Nestle’s relentless pumping from ground water reserves in these regions. Water restrictions i9n California has had terrible impact on its agriculture, but Nestle ignored the state of emergency and did not stop pumping because the pump was located at Native American reservation. Nestle is exempt from complying with any water-saving state or federal regulations. Nestle’s greed is so insatiable that it wants to privatize the entire water of the world: as the CEO coldly claims.


About the author


Business and technology have always been Sam's areas of interest, and he transformed that interest into a passion through his regular contributions on issues related to these. As an IT specialist Sam is well versed in the most up-to-date trends in the field of computer technology. He earned his Master's in Information Science from Penn State University. He writes on technology, science, business, nature, and contemporary issues.


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