Bottled water sales growing fastest in India

London, February 15:

The fastest growth in the consumption of bottled water in the world has been recorded in India, according to a new study that questions the rising thirst for bottled water.

The study, conducted by the US-based Earth Policy Institute, says the global consumption of bottled water has grown by 57 per cent over the past five years, despite the fact that the product is often no healthier than tap water and costs up to 10,000 times more. Emily Arnold, the author of the report, complains that the $100 billion spent each year on bottled water is nearly seven times the sum invested in providing safe drinking water in developing countries. According to the study, the US is the world’s largest consumer of bottled water and Italians drink the most per person. But the fastest growth is coming in developing countries, with consumption tripling in India and more than doubling in China over the past five years.

Arnold alleges that a Coca-Cola water bottling plant in India has caused water shortages in 50 surrounding villages. However, the company has said that an independent investigation found it was not to blame.

The report highlights increasing scrutiny of bottled water producers such as Nestle, Danone, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo by environmental and human rights activists, especially in places where water is scarce. Arnold says that 40 per cent of bottled water com-es from a municipal source.