When I was growing up water came from the kitchen and growing up in Ireland meant that it came out cold, clear and lovely – no shop that I knew of sold water, I mean ,who on earth would buy it?
Somehow we all managed to get from A to B without the need or desire to have a drink along the way. My dad managed to get through his working day in a loud dirty and dusty factory with only a glass of water at lunch-time and those of us at school managed the same.
We were not dehydrated and no one thought we were or might be. No mothers worried if their little Jonny or Jenny was getting enough water because they were, from the tap, at lunch time or after school.
So, how on earth did we get to the stage we are today were few, if any of us, think drinking water comes from the tap. If you are younger than thirty you probably think that all drinking water comes in the form, in the shape of a plastic bottle. The shape of water.
So, as I was saying, how on earth did we get this expensive, totally unnecessary and as we all now know environmentally damaging state of affairs. Well, the answer you will not be surprised to hear is money.
If any of you can remember the 60’s or 70’s then you probably remember the advertisements for the very upmarket Perrier. This was one of the first and certainly one of the most successful bottled waters to go on sale.
Perrier was expensive and sold in rather unique glass bottles. It wasn’t aimed at a mass market and it was certainly not meant to be carried about while shopping, going to work, exercising or going 5 minutes up the road.
So two things happened. Firstly, the money men realised that people would actually pay for something that for hundreds of years was basically free and secondly, those same people firmly believed that somehow this bottled water was superior and better for you than the water that came out of the tap for free.
This of course is one of the greatest marketing successes in the last 50 years. To convince the masses that drinking water came in the shape of a plastic bottle with a fairly hefty price is an almost unbelievable feat. But they did it.
The key to this success was convincing us that somehow tap water wasn’t pure. Well of course it isn’t. To get it past all the UK and EU regulations there’s this, that and the other added to it and therefore it does, in some parts of the country, have a bit of an after taste but it is not unhealthy.
What is unhealthy is PLASTIC BOTTLES. How we let this industry convince us that putting water in billions of plastic bottles would have no consequences further down the line, beggars belief.