Water sustains all life on the planet. Safe drinking water is a priority for human health. Traditionally, water was purified either by boiling it, filtering it or through ultraviolet light treatment. The bottled water industry is disruptive in nature as it provides consumers with safety and convenience when it comes to drinking water.
Waterborne diseases are a serious issue in developing countries like India with more than one lakh people falling prey to water-borne diseases every year. In this context, the bottled water industry, which was regulated by the decentralized and centralized policies of the Indian government made clean water more accessible to the general population.
However, bottled water may be seriously contaminated by the strong chemical substances and hence, may prove detrimental to your health. Some of the harmful chemicals that may be present in water include chloride, manganese, iron, coliform, zinc, phenols, and even arsenic. At times, bottled water may be more contaminated when compared to municipal tap water. The presence of pesticides, disinfectants, and radioactive materials may wreak havoc with your biological system.
In India, water testing carried out during 2014-2015revealed that about 31% of the samples tested by the Indian government were adulterated. It is important to note that certain Indian states recorded a higher proportion of adulterated samples when compared to others.
Another study was carried out in 2015 by the Bhabha Atomic and Research Center (BARC), which found carcinogenic substances such as bromate in some of the ninety samples tested from eighteen different brands. India’s regulator for food safety is the FSSAI, and part of its responsibility is to guarantee that packaged water carries the right certification. The packaged water industry is worth INR 1500 crore.
Contamination affects millions annually as Indian consumers fall prey to life-threatening diseases such as typhoid, jaundice, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, and dysentery. Dementia, heart problems, and hypertension are some of the chronic conditions that may result from the consumption of contaminated water.
According to reports from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), manufacture and sale of bottled water without a BIS or FSSAI certification mark is a common practice. An absence of the relevant business license further complicates the issue.
A sustainable mineral water brand must be selected to ensure the safety of drinking water. Three of the most notable bottled mineral water brands in India are Kinley, Aquafina, and Bisleri. Kinley is owned by Coca-Cola and Aquafina produced and marketed by Pepsi. Bisleri is the oldest brand in the country. When selecting a water brand, care must be taken to ensure that it is approved by the Indian government.
Reputable retail stores are preferable when compared to sellers on the roadside. Further, it is important to check the bottle seal and select an appropriate brand. Another important consideration is to ensure that proper sealing of the water bottle. To verify this aspect, ensure that the cap snaps in two or three places while breaking its plastic. Checking whether the bottle snapped at the time of opening it ensures that the bottle was sealed as opposed to being glued, ruling out the possibility of tampering or contamination.