Not content with bottling water in drought-stricken California, Nestle has added Colorado to its water empire: the world’s largest food and beverage company has been draining millions of gallons of water from the Arkansas River out of a pipeline near Buena Vista. The water is taken from a pipeline and loaded into tanker trucks and taken to the Nestle bottling plant in Denver.
There the water is used to fill hundreds and thousands and millions of little plastic Arrowhead Springs water bottles, which are then trucked to convenience markets, grocery stores, movie theaters and sports palaces around the West. Each month, Nestle fills roughly 40.4 million 16.9 ounce bottles.
65 Million Gallons Annually
It’s not just Colorado that is affected. With 65 million gallons a year being pumped out of the river, there will be long term impacts to Colorado and downstream. The Arkansas River also flows through Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, areas that have also suffered major droughts recently.
The Colorado proposal elicited fierce opposition from many residents, who feared the company would deplete the local aquifer and that its trucks hauling the water to Denver would snarl traffic on mountain roads.
There’s plenty of evidence to show that Nestle’s habits are destructive of small communities.
The non-profit Stop Nestle Waters has gathered evidence from the 50 spring sites that Nestle operates around the country, and here’s what they found:
Nestle’s predatory tactics in rural communities divide small towns and pit residents against each other. Nestle reaps huge profits from the water they extract from rural communities – which are left to deal with the damage to watersheds, increases in pollution and the loss of their quiet rural lifestyle. Because Nestle has a pattern of bludgeoning small communities and opponents with lawsuits and interfering in local elections to gain control of local water supplies.
Why Are So Many People Buying Bottled Water?
How does it happen that the bottled water industry can take what is clean, readily available and free, package it in non-biodegradable plastic, and sell it back to consumers at highly inflated prices?
How could so many customers fall for this trick?
Not only that, but profits continue to rise. Currently, the annual spending on bottled water in the U.S. is $11.8 billion, while the global sales revenue from bottled water is $60 billion.
In the United States, an estimated 30 billion plastic bottles are sold annually, bottles that it takes at least 17 million barrels of oil to manufacture (enough to fuel about 100,000 cars for the entire year). The average number of plastic bottles used per person each year in the United States is 167.
On an even more depressing side note, nearly 8 out of every 10 of those bottles ends up in a landfill, translating to about a 23 percent recycling rate.
But, guess what? The tap water in San Francisco comes from Yosemite National Park and is so pure the EPA does not require it to be filtered. Indeed, most of the time there is no difference between tap water and bottled water (unless the bottling company chooses to add an extra ingredient). Often the tap water, which we are already paying for with our taxes, is better.
Nestle’s Predatory Practices
Nestle has a long history of disgraceful practices. Remember the infant formula scandal? Back in the 1970s, Nestle went into developing poor countries and promoted infant formula, which led to many deaths because of the lack of clean water sources to prepare formula safely. In addition, many families could not afford to purchase formula after the free samples stopped and by that time, the mother’s milk had dried up.
Boycotts of Nestlé have been going on since the early 1970s, for good reason.
Perhaps it’s time for another one?
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
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