Banner Archive

Marvel Comics Timeline
Godzilla Timeline



« Pretty sure we are all butt heads | Main | Dirt Can Make You Happy »

Put Down the Bottled Water, People

Every few years, the media discovers this like it's new. So every time they do that, i need to dust off my Tank Girl rant.

Flint, MI can't get clean water, but Nestle can get as much as they want for a song.


Last year, U.S. bottled water sales reached $16 billion, up nearly 10 percent from 2015, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. They outpaced soda sales for the first time as drinkers continue to seek convenience and healthier options and worry about the safety of tap water after the high-profile contamination in Flint, Mich., about a two-hour drive from Mecosta. Nestlé alone sold $7.7 billion worth worldwide, with more than $343 million of it coming from Michigan, where the company bottles Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water and Pure Life, its purified water line.

The Michigan operation is only one small part of Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company. But it illuminates how Nestlé has come to dominate a controversial industry, spring by spring, often going into economically depressed municipalities with the promise of jobs and new infrastructure in exchange for tax breaks and access to a resource that's scarce for millions. Where Nestlé encounters grass-roots resistance against its industrial-strength guzzling, it deploys lawyers; where it's welcome, it can push the limits of that hospitality, sometimes with the acquiescence of state and local governments that are too cash-strapped or inept to say no. There are the usual costs of doing business, including transportation, infrastructure, and salaries. But Nestlé pays little for the product it bottles--sometimes a municipal rate and other times just a nominal extraction fee. In Michigan, it's $200.

You've seen/read Tank Girl, right? We all know how this ends.

The United Nations expects that 1.8 billion people will live in places with dire water shortages by 2025, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under stressed water conditions. Supply may be compromised in the U.S., too. A recent Michigan State University study predicts that more than a third of Americans might not be able to afford their water bills in five years, with costs expected to triple as World War II-era construction breaks down.
Nestlé has been preparing for shortages for decades. The company's former chief executive officer, Helmut Maucher, said in a 1994 interview with the New York Times: "Springs are like petroleum. You can always build a chocolate factory. But springs you have or you don't have." His successor, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who retired recently after 21 years in charge, drew criticism for encouraging the commodification of water in a 2005 documentary, saying: "One perspective held by various NGOs--which I would call extreme--is that water should be declared a human right. ... The other view is that water is a grocery product. And just as every other product, it should have a market value." Public outrage ensued. Brabeck-Letmathe says his comments were taken out of context and that water is a human right. He later proposed that people should have free access to 30 liters per day, paying only for additional use.

Stop buying bottled water. Stop supporting these psychopaths who think water shouldn't be a human right. Get a water filter if you have to, but ultimately, we must fight to get our infrastructure repaired and maintained. We must fight to improve water quality standards, not rely on out-of-date standards and water treatment techniques that don't factor in new contaminants (e.g. anti-psychotic medication and birth control).

By min | April 5, 2018, 10:23 PM | Liberal Outrage