Home » Internacional » Agua embotellada: ¿El mayor timo del siglo?

Agua embotellada: ¿El mayor timo del siglo?

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Fuente: RT

Las multinacionales del agua embotellada están aumentando exponencialmente su presencia, sobre todo, en los países desarrollados de todo el mundo, haciéndonos creer que su producto es mucho mejor que el líquido que sale directamente de las cañerías.

Las cifras hablan por sí solas. Según denuncian los activistas canadienses Maude Barlow y Tony Clarke en su famoso libro ‘Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water’ (‘Oro azul: la lucha contra el robo corporativo del agua del mundo’), en la década de los 70 el volumen anual de agua embotellada que se comercializaba en todo el mundo no superaba los 1.000 millones de litros, mientras que en la siguiente década el consumo se duplicó. Ya en el año 2000, las ventas anuales ascendieron a más de 84.000 millones de litros y los pronósticos del portal Statista indican que en 2017 se consumirán 391.000 millones de litros de agua embotellada.

¿Qué países lideran el consumo de agua embotellada?

Según un informe preparado por la Beverage Marketing Corporation, México fue el país con mayor consumo per cápita de agua embotellada en 2014 y se calcula que cada mexicano toma alrededor de 264 litros de agua envasada al año. El segundo mayor consumidor de agua en este formato es Tailandia (246 litros anuales por persona), seguido por Italia, con 196 litros anuales per cápita.

Otros lugares que sienten cierta ‘debilidad’ por el agua envasada son: Luxemburgo (148 litros anuales por persona), Alemania (143,8 litros anuales por persona), Emiratos Árabes Unidos (141 litros anuales por persona), Francia (138 litros anuales por persona), EE.UU. (121 litros anuales por persona) y España (120,7 litros anuales por persona).

¿Por qué nos empeñamos en comprar agua envasada?

En la mayoría de países desarrollados, el agua del grifo es de una calidad excepcional y ofrece todas las garantías sanitarias. Bien es cierto que su sabor y olor puede variar dependiendo del lugar de procedencia (en algunos sitios puede contener más cloro, que se utiliza para potabilizarla, en otros disponer de más sulfatos y carbonatos, que le dan cierto sabor), pero esto no impide que sea absolutamente potable. La presencia de la industria embotelladora de agua a través de la publicidad y el marketing es tan palpable que, al final, muchos optan por comprar el agua cuando deberían beber directamente del grifo.

En este ámbito, el diseño publicitario resulta primordial, ya que las compañías están tratando de vender algo que, en realidad, tenemos gratis. Las campañas de publicidad del agua suelen ofrecer imágenes de una persona sana y guapa haciendo deporte al aire libre y bebiendo agua envasada o alguien famoso bañándose en un río. Al mismo tiempo, usan lemas tipo ‘vive joven’, ‘9 de cada 10 médicos lo recomiendan’ o ‘conozca la verdadera pureza’, lo que hace que el producto sea más atractivo para el consumo. ¿Pero será tan pura el agua embotellada en realidad como prometen las multinacionales?

Razones por las que es mejor no comprar agua envasada

Al contrario de lo que promete la industria embotelladora de agua, solo una pequeña parte del agua envasada proviene de manantiales o fuentes de agua subterránea: una parte considerable de su producto corre del grifo. La compañía Pepsi admitió hace un año que su agua envasada Aquafina no es agua mineral, sino la que corre del grifo. ¿Se habrán parado alguna vez a pensar cuánto cuesta potabilizar cerca de 1.000 litros de agua? Alrededor de un euro, el precio que nos cobran por una botella de agua ‘pura’. Se trata de un precio abusivo que, además, conlleva un alto coste ambiental.

Tan solo esta semana se ha pronunciado al respecto el coordinador del Departamento de Economía del Agua del Instituto IMDEA Agua y consultor internacional de las Naciones Unidas, Gonzalo Delacámara, quien ha alertado sobre el hecho de que el precio de agua envasada en España es mil veces mejor que la del grifo. En el marco de la presentación del Foro de la Economía del Agua que se celebrará el próximo viernes en Madrid (España), Delacámara opinó que, a pesar de la similitud de las propiedades del agua embotellada y la del grifo, “se confunden prioridades” porque se considera que este recurso es “universal, barato y de calidad”.

Por si fuera poco pagar por algo esencialmente gratis, muchas investigaciones han puesto al descubierto que el agua embotellada puede contener sustancias químicas. Por ejemplo, investigadores de la Universidad de Sevilla y del Centro Nacional de Aceleradores realizaron un análisis de 32 marcas de agua mineral y llegaron a la conclusión que las concentraciones de polonio radiactivo en algunas muestras superaban en más de 100 veces al encontrado en el agua del grifo, aunque siempre por debajo de valores de riesgo para la salud.

A pesar de que las empresas embotelladoras utilizan un tipo de plástico libre de BPA (bisfenol-A), considerado menos tóxico, esto no nos libra de que otros compuestos químicos pueden filtrarse al agua. Además, algunos científicos afirman que, si se reutilizan las botellas de plástico una y otra vez, el bisfenol-A acabará desprendiéndose en el agua.

Con el fin de tener una opción más saludable, ahorrar dinero y preservar el medioambiente, existen muchas alternativas al agua embotellada, como usar filtros que mejoran la calidad o, simplemente, dejar reposar el agua en una jarra de vidrio durante una hora.

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