Environmental impact of bottled water 'up to 3,500 times greater than tap water'

Scientists have discovered that bottled water has a 3,500-fold greater impact on natural resources than tap water.This research is unique and examines the impact of bottled drinking water in Barcelona. It is growing in popularity despite recent improvements in the quality of tap water.The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a research institute, found that the cost of extracting resources would be 3,500 times greater if all the residents drank bottled water. This is $83.9m (60.3m per year).Research also showed that bottled water has a 1,400-fold greater impact on ecosystems than tap water.According to the authors, the environmental benefits of tap water are greater than the risk of bladder cancer. Trihalomethanes (THM) are low levels in drinking water. This has been linked to a higher incidence of bladder cancer. The EU regulates the levels of THM in drinking water.Cristina Villanueva (ISGlobal researcher) said that bottled water is not recommended for widespread consumption. Although drinking tap water is more harmful to your health, the benefits of bottled water are minimal when you consider both. It is clear that bottled water has more negative environmental effects than tap water.To produce plastic for the US' annual bottled water consumption, 17m barrels are required. The UK's bottled water is 500 times more expensive that tap water.Villanueva said: Although this study may help reduce the consumption of bottled water, we need to take more active steps to do so.In Barcelona, for example, there could be more education campaigns to inform the public that the environmental and health benefits of drinking bottled water are negligible. Access to water must be improved, including to public fountains and public buildings, where you can bring your own bottles. Access to public water must be made easier on public streets.Bottled water is trusted by people because of the advertising. We need to make sure that the opposite side of the coin succeeds.