Pharmaceutical giant Merck has become the most recent multinational corporation to endorse the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, an initiative that was awarded the Public Eye Greenwash Award. Public Eye described the Mandate as a club of corporations that profit financially from water as a primary resource while exhibiting “irresponsible and damaging behavior.” Merck is just the latest corporation to join the ranks of Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, and a host of other environmental offenders.
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(NaturalNews) Coca leaves have been chewed and consumed as tea for thousands of years in the high Andes. They are rich in many essential nutrients; they ease respiratory and digestive distress and are a natural stimulant and painkiller. Indigenous tradition and scientific studies have both confirmed that in their natural form, the leaves are completely safe and non-addictive — it takes intensive processing and toxic chemical ingredients to produce cocaine. That’s why more and more coca-containing products have started to hit the market in Andean countries in the past few years.
Yet the United States still aggressively pursues an eradication policy that encourages Andean governments to spray their forests with toxic chemicals to eliminate this medicinal crop. It is illegal to import or possess the leaves under U.S. law — unless you’re the Coca-Cola company. In an effort to preserve the traditional flavor of the best-selling drink, the company long ago convinced the U.S. government to exempt it from the law.
(Coca-Cola, by the way, used to literally contain cocaine in its original formula. The practice was halted in 1903, but the name persisted. The “coca” part of “coca-cola” is derived from the coca plant, and the “kola” comes from the kola nut which also flavored the original beverage.)
Why U of T needs to join the global movement against the commodification of water
All over North America, students and others are taking the pledge to go bottled water free. To date, 76 municipalities, 4 municipal associations — including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities — 8 school boards, and 21 campuses in Canada have either banned bottled water or established bottled water-free zones. Bottled water sales are down as a result, and a new awareness of the importance of public water is growing.
The bottled water industry is big business. The big four — Coke, Pepsi, Danone and Nestlé — have annual profits of $1.5 billion. It is a highly polluting and toxic industry, with many billions of plastic bottles left behind in landfills, rivers, forests, and oceans every year. Worldwide, 90 per cent of these bottles are not recycled. It also takes large amounts of oil to produce the plastic water bottles and the process of manufacturing and exporting them produces trillions of kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
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Is a “health” drink worse for the earth than it is good for you?
If global trends are anything to go by it can be expected that the unregulated South African bottled mineral water market, which is estimated to be worth close to R2 billion per year, is expected to come under attack in the not too distant future. The jury is out on the question of whether it might be bad for you, but it seems sure that it does not do you much good anyway and that there might be healthier ways to spend your money.
Campaigns against bottled water, which are considered to be based on a misrepresentation of heath factors involved and is said to contribute massively to plastic pollution and CO2 emission levels, are spreading like wildfire internationally.
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Say NO to Bottled Water aims to encourage more discussion and research into the subject of drinking water specifically but also water as the fundamental resource that it is. If you have research and or links to articles that are relevant, please provide in a comment below…