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#377830 - 05/21/10 08:53 AM Is Bottled Water Good For You?  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,691
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
In Belize one of the fastest growing and most unregulated businesses happens to be good old H2O, or as we commonly know it: WATER! The Bottled Water industry has grown rapidly over the last decade and without any standards or regulations in place to protect the consumer and safely guide this multimillion dollar industry, the Bureau of Standards along with the Ministry of Health are fast tracking towards meeting the standards and good regulatory practices of the Caricom region and the World Health Organization. And so today those who have a stake in the industry gathered at the Best Western Hotel to participate in the development and shaping of those new proposed regulations that are intended to protect consumers from contaminated packaged water. Seven News was there today and I had an opportunity to speak with some of the stakeholders.

There are more Belizeans than ever, young and old who have developed an insatiable appetite for fresh, clean water to drink. This market driven reality has spurred one of the fastest growing industries in Belize.

Nolan Michael, Plant Manager, Cystal Bottling
"People in this day and age have become more health and safety conscious knowing the hazards that are out there. I think that has primarily driven the market for bottled water."

The bottled water business is a profitable and growing industry with low start-up costs, and that might be why more than three dozen bottlers have mushroomed across Belize.

There are many choices but the problem for the consumer is there are no standards in place to ensure the water they buy is safe.

Jose Trejo, Director Belize Bureau of Standards
"We have a difficulty with products, locally produced products are not having proper labelling. That is part of the standard. The standard itself calls for certain testing and samples to be done with regularity. This is where the regularity agencies like the Ministry of Health come into play. This would mean then that random testing has to be done for the products that are on the market at this present time. One of the things that we have to do both as the Bureau and the Ministry of Health is to educate the consumer about the kind of work that we do and the kind of testing that we do so that they readily identify certain products that are actually meeting the standard."

Studies have shown from samples taken of some bottled waters that they can contain bacteria and certain chemical contaminants at levels harmful to one's health if consumed over a long period of time.

Anthony Flowers, Water Analyst, Ministry of Health
"From our monitoring we have found problems with a few of these companies. Mostly in the area of bacteriological quality. So we have found coliforms in bottled water samples and usually whenever we find those as I mention we would normally have that product removed from the market so that it is not consumed by the public."

Bottled water is drinking water packaged in plastic or glass containers, and in Belize the dominant form of packaging is in plastic bottles. It's a multimillion dollar business worldwide and its estimated that by next year, 2011, the market will show an increase of more than 40 percent since 2006. And in Belize the major players like Bowen and Bowen who started their Crystal Bottling operations in May of 1994 continue to dominate the market locally because of their financial resources and their claim to ensure the safest product on the market for the consumer. Its Plant Manager, Nolan Michael says, they are way ahead of the game when it comes to consumer safety.

Nolan Michael
"Obviously you have to take a look at the packaging. The packaging describes quality of the product that you produce. We take great care in placing of of the most descriptive labels on our products. We also placed Best Before Date as well as Date of Production on the neck of our bottles which you can ensure you are receiving the freshest possible product. That ensures traceability for us, we can trace back to all of the starting raw materials, everything that we used in the production of that particular product. Customers can rest assured that all times that we have appropriate quality control and the appropriate quality assurance in place to ensure that they are receiving the best quality products at all times."

Another major player in the water bottling business is the Valley Manufacturing Company, a subsidiary of CPBL, whose Commercial Director says they are one in only a few with the proper infrastructure in place to provide safe drinkable water.

David Craig, Commercial Director, Valley Manufacturing Co.
"We are probably one of the few out of that 35 or 36 or 37 people that are producing bottled water right now that has the proper certification. Along with Cystal we have ISO 90001 we have ISO 140001, we are HACCP certified and we are heading for BRC certification. The consultant was saying that there are many of these people that will fall by the wayside when this regulation actually comes into force."

But let the public be aware, that Bottled water does not necessarily mean that it has undergone any specific treatment process or is better than plain tap water or any other source. In fact, some bottled water is simply tap water bottled and sold.

Jim McFadzean
"But besides the growing trend towards purchasing bottled water by the larger Belizean community, there are still those like Ms. Antonia Reyes who believe that the old way is still the best way in getting her source of water."

(Older woman drinking from vat)
Antonia Reyes
"Good!"

Studies show that consumers are paying several hundred times more per unit by volume for bottled water than they are for tap water. Typically, 90 percent or more of the cost paid by bottled water consumers goes to things other than the water itself, example: bottling, packaging, marketing, retailing, other expenses and profit. There is one inarguable advantage though, and that is bottled water has reduced amounts of copper, lead and other metal contaminants, since it doesn't run through the plumbing pipes where tap water is exposed to metal corrosion.

Channel 7

#407383 - 05/10/11 10:12 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 91
JdeVerteuil Offline
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JdeVerteuil  Offline
Everytime you purchase bottled water you are raising the price of fuel. Why you ask? Good question.
Plastic is a petroleum product. every 1liter plastic bottle requires 1 liter of petroleum to manufacture.
Now include the fuel cost to deliver and the fuel for you to go get. Think about.
Solution: Purchase a home water filter system and carry your own. It is cheaper and better for the environment. Besides most bottled water is not really that pure. A home filter system is better and cheaper.


John deVerteuil
#407390 - 05/10/11 10:29 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,441
ScubaLdy Offline
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ScubaLdy  Offline
Last week I ran out of rain water and had to buy a 5 gal jug of 'filtered' water. What a difference in taste - like the bottled water had no taste and my rain water is delicious.
Better still is coconut water. I drink at least one glass a day.
In the US my tap water was purere and tasted better than any of the expensive bottled stuff. People have been brainwashed.


Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles
#407410 - 05/10/11 12:14 PM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,850
Diane Campbell Offline
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Diane Campbell  Offline
We've been drinking unfiltered rain water for 19 years. No health issues. Tastes great.

After this weekends trash pickup on the beach and roads you'd think people would give up the bottled (and bagged) drinks altogether !!


#407416 - 05/10/11 12:47 PM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: JdeVerteuil]  
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,988
ragman Offline
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ragman  Offline
Originally Posted by Future Ex-Pat
Everytime you purchase bottled water you are raising the price of fuel. Why you ask? Good question.
Plastic is a petroleum product. every 1liter plastic bottle requires 1 liter of petroleum to manufacture.
Now include the fuel cost to deliver and the fuel for you to go get. Think about.
Solution: Purchase a home water filter system and carry your own. It is cheaper and better for the environment. Besides most bottled water is not really that pure. A home filter system is better and cheaper.


John I agree with your first sentence and I have no problem with your solution. Your cost of manufacturing a l liter plastic bottle is another matter. Under your assumption at today's price of a barrel of crude ($103) a l liter bottle would cost $.64 usd. I recalulated this with information from the Pacific Institute (A Green Group) which seems to agree with most sourses and the price comes out to $.055 usd. Quite a difference. http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability/bottled_water/bottled_water_and_energy.html Plastic is cheap and light weight and that is why it is used. Plastic is a problem no doubt and that is quite evident on this Island.

Last edited by ragman; 05/10/11 02:33 PM. Reason: wording

Jim
Somewhere on a beach in Belize
#408258 - 05/20/11 12:58 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: ragman]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 91
JdeVerteuil Offline
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JdeVerteuil  Offline
Ragman,
I agree with you on cost. The petroleum used to make plastic is a by-products of the refinery process of natural gas and petroleum known as liquid petroleum gases (LPG) and natural gas liquids (NGL). Althought the ratio is 1:1.
My point is that I do not like bottled water it is a ridiculous concept. If people do not trust their local water source then why do you trust someone elses. Most bottled water is tap water from some other town or your own.

Of note there is a refinery process that recycles plastic back into petroleum collecting about 50% as a reusable resource to be used in power generation or fuel for vehicles. www.envion.com
"We have the technology we can rebuild him." Million dollar man intro. Give me a break I was a kid then smile


John deVerteuil
#408259 - 05/20/11 04:51 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: JdeVerteuil]  
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,988
ragman Offline
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ragman  Offline
Quote
My point is that I do not like bottled water it is a ridiculous concept. If people do not trust their local water source then why do you trust someone elses. Most bottled water is tap water from some other town or your own.

In general you are correct. In San Pedro they bottle water into gallon and 5 gallon containers and it comes from the city supply. Iím not sure if they bottle the small containers and bags on the Island that are the most common trash. One of the reasons for this is because occasionally the water supplies suffer from hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. This gas is harmless but when present it gives a slight to sometimes strong rotten egg smell. This can be a problem at the resorts and homes when it is present. People get use to using the bottle water and end up doing it out of habit. This problem takes place in the city water supply and the private supplies which draw from wells either directly or use well water to supply their RO. This is not a problem unique to the Island and can happen most anywhere. There are ways to solve this problem using chlorine, carbon filters or aeration. I believe the bottling plant here uses a filtration system.

This justifies the use of bottle water but again mostly in the one and 5 gallon containers. The 5 gallon containers have a $25bz deposit so they are not a problem. Iím not sure about the 1 gallon containers but I donít see a lot of them on the ground. The use of the small containers and bags is where the problem lies. I think most of this on the Island and in the world is convenience and habit. Besides water on the Island you have juices and zipped up water sold in these small containers. If you are going to sell them and if people desire them, well plastic is most economical way to go and herein is the problem.

The reason the bottle water has no taste, at least here, is that it is pure water. It has passed through a membrane of a RO unit and all of the minerals along with everything else have been eliminated from it. What the membrane might have missed the filtration system took care of.

The genie is out of the bottle (or bag) and Iím afraid it is going to take some future technology to get this back under control.


Jim
Somewhere on a beach in Belize
#408310 - 05/20/11 10:14 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 415
sunandsand Offline
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sunandsand  Offline
I have often wondered why the supplier on the island doesn't have a way for people to bring their OWN container(s) and just pay for the content. It could be a bucket, a bottle, a pot..just anything that is water tight. This would save a lot of litter of the plastic sort, and it wouldn't be such a hardship on them to come up with the $25 deposit. We have had two bottles stolen from out unit, and will be installing our own purifier in the near future.
You can collect distilled or purified water from the condensor of your A/C unit. If you put a hose from the unit to a bottle, you can drink it....just keep the bugs and bird droppings away from it.


At what age is it determined I am old enough to know better?
#408320 - 05/20/11 11:18 AM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,193
collyk Offline
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collyk  Offline
A friend and neighbour managed the water plant in San Pedro. He told me that the water they produce exceeds WHO standards when it leaves the plant, which is privately owned. They sell that water to various people including BWS, who own and maintain the infrastructure that gets it to our homes. The private company that produces the water were, unfortunately, unable to guarantee that their water is safe to drink by the time it reaches homes/businesses due to the quality of the pipes transporting it. City water is heavily chlorinated. That effects the flavour strongly and may be another reason, people choose to drink bottled water. As far as I'm aware, Crystal water receives additional treatment before being sold as drinking water and does not come straight out of the taps.


www.conchcreative.com
Belize Wedding Photography

#408329 - 05/20/11 12:09 PM Re: Is Bottled Water Good For You? [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,441
ScubaLdy Offline
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ScubaLdy  Offline
Can you use the water from your AC condenser for your batteries?


Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles
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