Singapore looks set to be waging war on bottled water, a commodity created when a percentage of the world’s drinking water is trapped in fancy-looking plastic and put on sale for several thousand times the cost price.
The mainstream media in Singapore published a series of articles on May 16, 2017, across a few platforms to inform Singaporeans that drinking bottled water is an expensive exercise in futility.
Currently, as it stands, there is no concrete proof to show bottled water can be beneficial despite plentiful health claims and anecdotal evidence from people hooked on this stuff.
War on expensive milk formula powder, war on bottled water
Nothing in politics is coincidental, but in this case it could be, as the focus on the unnecessary costs of bottled water comes on the heels of the debate about why formula milk powder has been so expensive in Singapore as of late.
Leading the charge against bottled water is an article in The New Paper, reporting that a family in Singapore actually spends S$200 a month on bottled water. (This is derived from two fuller articles in The Straits Times here and here.)
In the report, the Goh family drink something like 12 1.5-litre bottles a week, or 48 a month.
They reportedly buy bottled water to reduce chlorine intake and have been doing so since the 2000s.
This is despite the assurance that the level of chlorine in Singapore’s tap water is within acceptable limits.
In 2016, chlorine levels in all the waterworks in Singapore ranged from 2.04 to 2.98mg per litre, well within the World Health Organisation’s limits of 5mg per litre.
Moreover, there is no conclusive evidence from studies to show that drinking bottled water is going to cure cancer, is good for your liver and kidneys, or makes one more competitive in the athletic sense.
Bottled water is 1,000 times the price of tap water
What is certain is that costs for tap water are very, very much lower in comparison to the exorbitant costs of bottled water, largely due to its grab-and-go convenience that comes at a premium.
According to national water agency PUB, tap water can be 1,000 times cheaper than bottled water.
A 600ml bottle of drinking water costs between 50 cents and S$1. Tap water costs 0.1 cent for the same amount.
Monetary costs aside, plastic bottles take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade. They also produce toxic fumes when burned.
It also takes an estimated three litres of water to package a one-litre bottle.
Water in bottled water from Malaysia comes from Singapore
What is lesser known, however, is that two specific brands of bottled water is, in fact, derived from tap water that is treated in Singapore.
F&N’s Ice Mountain and Coca-Cola’s Dasani that made up more than half of the bottled water sales volume in Singapore in 2015, are sourced and packed in Malaysia from the local water supply there.
Malaysia’s water is treated in Singapore.
Talk about coming full circle.
Bottom line: Just drink tap water.