Bottled water affects the ecosystem 1,400 times more than tap water

A sip of refreshing water when you are thirsty in the sweltering heat is sweet. On the shelves of convenience stores, various mineral waters that have crossed borders and seas, such as Jeju volcanic bedrock water, fresh spring water from the native forest of Mt. Baekdu, and Alpine glacial water, lure customers. However, can it be said that all mineral water is clean?

A research report has been published that scientifically analyzes the “source” of guilt felt while drinking bottled water. This is the result of a study conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) on the environment and health of water consumption using the city of Barcelona as a sample. According to the Guardian, a British daily that introduced this paper on August 5th, 2021, bottled water actually pollutes the environment significantly.

Barcelona has a population of 1.35 million, of which about 58% drink bottled water. Assuming that all citizens use bottled water as drinking water, the research team concluded that the cost of producing bottled water would increase by $83.9 million (about 96 billion won) per year, and that 1.43 species of living things would become extinct every year during the extraction and processing of bottled water. The difference is even more pronounced compared to when all citizens drink tap water. The impact on the ecosystem was 1,400 times greater than that of tap water, and the cost of extracting resources increased 3,500 times. This means that the increased consumption of bottled water can have catastrophic consequences for the environment.

The research team explained, “This is because more energy and resources are put into the process of producing bottled water than tap water.” In the United States, for example, 17 million barrels of petroleum are used annually to make bottled water bottles, and in the United Kingdom bottled water is 500 times more expensive than tap water.

However, the public perception is that drinking tap water is also reluctant. Therefore, the researchers also conducted an assessment of the health effects of tap water. Usually, tap water contains trace amounts of trihalomethane, a disinfectant and disinfectant by-product, which is known to cause bladder cancer. However, the impact was minimal. When all Barcelona citizens drank tap water, life expectancy per capita decreased by an average of two hours. If all 1.53 million citizens are combined, it is about 309 years, but even this is greatly reduced to 36 years if you drink purified tap water. It just means that tap water is safe to drink.

Christina Villanueva, an environmental epidemiologist at ISGlobal, who conducted the study, said, “This study indicates that tap water is a better option than bottled water in all aspects, including the environment and health. was diagnosed with

This study was conducted based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Health Impact Assessment (HIA), which evaluate all environmental impacts that occur from raw material production to product shipment. As the analysis data, the water consumption patterns of citizens and the content of chemical substances in tap water provided by the Public Health Department of the City of Barcelona were used. The paper was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Science.

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