Monday, August 01, 2005

Killer Dasani

First there was Killer Coke, now Tom Standage tries to make us feel guilty for drinking bottled water too.

His argument is two-fold. First, he and his friends can't tell the difference between tap water and bottled water:
On the table were 10 bottles of water, several rows of glasses and some paper for recording our impressions. ... The variation between waters was wide, yet the water from the tap did not stand out: only one of us correctly identified it.
I suspect that this result will change depending on where you live. I've had experiences with very poor tasting tap waters. But that's not really my concern. I like to have a bottle to carry around with me otherwise I won't drink anything (or worse, drink soda) and I'll get dehydrated. Once I've consumed the original water I'll usually fill it up from the tap or whatever filtered source is available. This continues for about a week when I inevitably lose the bottle or forget it at home and I buy another one. (Don't tell me to use a Nalgene, I refuse to drink out of those ridiculously large openings.) Standage's argument against portability:
Bottled water is undeniably more fashionable and portable than tap water. The practice of carrying a small bottle, pioneered by supermodels, has become commonplace. But despite its association with purity and cleanliness, bottled water is bad for the environment.
Well I'll accept that there may be some effect on the environment, but chalk that up to my carelessness. Anyway, here's the punchline: There's very poor water supplies in Africa, so
The logical response, for those of us in the developed world, is to stop spending money on bottled water and to give the money to water charities.
Of course, this isn't a "logical response" at all. If you agree with Standage that bottled water is no better than tap water, then you should stop drinking it. If you agree that water charities can help the poor, then you should give them money. Standage hasn't established any sort of link between the two. I suspect that water charities are probably a good thing since they provide an out-of-market service for poor countries. But it's not necessary to make silly arguments to support them. Why not write an op-ed that focuses on poor countries' water problems and leaves out the passé and irrelevant attacks on bottled water drinkers?

2 Comments:

Anonymous dick said...

I'll drink to that !!

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a Dasani fiend!

4:07 PM  

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