Water plays an important role in maintenance of good health. It is abundant in nature, colorless and tasteless. It is a basic unit of life. No living organism can survive without it. It is an essential component of the human body, contributing 70% of its mass. The body temperatures of a human body are regulated by water. It also helps in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients within the body cells. It assists the mind in being alert. Water can be bottled to enhance portability, as well as preservation. It can be spring or mineral water, depending on the source. Mineral water accumulates various minerals as it flows over rocks before it is collected while spring water emanates from the ground, having no chance to collect minerals. Tap water is treated with chemicals before distribution to consumers. The major chemicals used for tap water treatment are Chlorine and fluorine. It is normally treated to eradicate any pathogens that might be present in the water, and which may cause diseases.
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This is water that is packaged directly from the source. It is significant due to the fact that it is taken in its natural state, without chemicals. Mineral water contains important elements such as calcium and magnesium that are needed in the body. They are acquired from water that flows along a course composed of rocks that are rich in minerals. Bottled water has established a market in the word population due to the standards that have been set by many governments in order to protect the consumers. It is advantageous because once packed, the water has a long shelf life. Bottled water can also be used for emergency supplies in cases of water shortage. Travelers can conveniently carry bottled water with them when they travel over long journeys. However, there has been a rise in the level of pollution in the environment, causing pollution in the natural water sources. Land fills and incinerators are a major source of pollutants. It is progressively becoming un-advisable for people to drink bottled water because of the associated levels of pollution. According to Feldman (2003, p.27), “The quantity of plastic waste generate every year are predictable at half a million tons.” These are mainly disposed in land fills and incinerators. They end up polluting surface water bodies
During the rainy seasons, soil erosion causes fertilizers and other pollutants emanating from land to be transported to the rivers, springs and wells, which are the major source of bottled water. Nutrients from the soil are leached in to the ground water, thereby contaminating it. On the other hand, human and animal wastes are major pollutants of surface waters. The health problems associated with drinking contaminated water are rampant in the current day. Water borne diseases are disastrous and can lead to death. Bottled water is not disinfected and therefore, microbes can multiply over time to cause diseases.
With the current commercialization of bottled water, the World Health Organization standards are rarely met in packaging of water. Bottled water firms tend to maximize profits, disregarding the safety standards. They tend to advertise their product using images of unpolluted sources of their water. People tend to see the clarity of the water in the bottle, disregarding the presence of microbes and other elements that are invisible for the naked eye. Many of the bottled water samples tested contained contaminants. The plastic bottle also poses a risk to the users of bottled water due to the tendency of chemical components of the bottle leaching in to the water. In the context of environmental pollution, empty bottles are a major pollutant. They are normally cheap and therefore many water bottlers never recycle them. They contribute significantly towards environmental pollution.
This is water that undergoes rigorous treatment processes to ensure that all the contaminants are eliminated. Chemicals that have been tested and proved to remove contaminants are used in the correct proportions to get rid of chemical and biological contaminants. Tap water is not costly, despite the distance it moves before reaching the final consumer. Currently, most of the bottled water is tap water. The need for treatment has been realized by many water firms. After tap water leaves the reservoir in to the treatment plant, it does not get exposed to pollutants unless if water pipes get damaged. It is abundant and can satisfy a large number of people compared to bottled water that is normally limited in supply due to its cost. Tap water does not leave pollutants over land.
Both tap water and bottled water are important in satisfying the basic needs of the human body. Bottled water is as good as tap water when it has been tested for contaminants. It should not be judged from its clarity, but actual testing. It is important in various situations such as when traveling or when water needs to be provided for emergency purposes. The general believe that bottled water is better than tap water is not reliable, and all water that is to be consumed by humans should be tested for contaminants. Recycling and re-using the water containers can assist in curbing environmental pollution. It can not be emphasized that bottled water is better than tap water. Both have a significant role that they play in human life.
Feldman (2003). Environmental Pollution: The Role of Industries in Pollution, 2nd edition, London: Century Business.