采访/朱智善 编辑/张天宇 后制/肖颜
China’s Bottled Water Worse than Tap Water
‘The Quality of Nongfu Spring’’ incident has completely
shattered Chinese people’s hope for safe food.
People ask themselves, if even the bottled water
is worse than the tap water, what can we drink?
Which kind of bottled water is the cleanest?
Why bottled water’ companies have different standards?
Such questions bother people’s minds,
and they eagerly want to know the answers now.
However, behind all of these transpire people’s worries,
and the standards’ chaos of China’s bottled water industry.
Based on public awareness, bottled water should be
more secure and clean than tap water.
However, a comparison of national standards
for tap’ and bottled water show something else.
There are 106 quality indicators for tap water,
but only 20 quality indicators for bottled water.
Silver, carbon tetrachloride, formaldehyde, including
toxicological levels, as well as pH, hardness,
and other common water quality indicators,
are not required to measure in the bottle water GB (Guóbiāo.)
Experts even found, the allowable level of microorganisms
in tap water is lower of that in GB bottled water.
For example, in bottled water GB, coliform index should be
less than 3 MPN per 100ml (MPN/100ml, ≦ 3), but the tap water does not allow presence of coliform.
Beijing water pollution and environmental protection
volunteer, private water expert, Zhang Junfeng spoke on the issue.
Zhang Junfeng: ‘The bottled water standards are indeed old,
or there is not a suitable standard yet.
Last year, the state published stricter tap water standards,
with reference to the developed countries.’
So, is the tap water definitely cleaner than the bottle water?
Mainland tap water testing expert shared little-known facts.
Qi Qinhong is a Deputy Director of Guangxi Qinzhou
Tap Water Company spoke with NTD.
Qi Qinhong: ‘Europe and the US have over 100 standards
for any kind of drinking water; we in China cannot do this.
There are no conditions to do this. Like in our place,
there are around 40 standards, and even these cannot be met.
Maybe in places such as Beijing and Shenzhen,
they have more standards’ requirements.’
Meanwhile, experts pointed out that some external factors
can lead to water quality and safety problems, such as the groundwater pipes walls’ rust and water pollution.
In addition, in some places, the source of tap water is so dirty,
the water has to be filtered and purified by many chemicals, so the local tap water factory is more like a chemical factory.
This kind of tap water contains a lot of chemicals,
and if drank directly can be harmful to the human body.
Qi Qinhong: ‘China has over 8500 new cancer patients each
year; every 6 min. there is one lung’ or liver cancer patient; the liver cancer is related to the water people drink.’
Qi Qinhong believes, the root cause of these phenomena,
is in fact China’s developmental model.
Qi Qinhong:’In China wherever we have development,
we have pollution.
Or first we develop and pollute, and then think about control.
But the costs to control the pollution are huge!
This relates to the Chinese government’s one-sided
pursuit of GDP, which is the root cause of the problem.’
With the increasing competition of the drinking water market,
all kinds of ‘mineral,’ ‘spring,’ and ‘pure’ water’ are born.
The companies’ implementation of standards like ‘GB,’
‘local,’‘enterprise,’ make the consumers fog headed.
Zhang Junfeng: ‘One kind is the real natural mineral water,
or the natural surface water.
Another is manually processed water,
called pure water or distilled water.
Another is the mineral water,
which is neither mineral, nor spring, nor pure water;
it is actually a tap water after processed by filtration,
with certain minerals added to it.’
But regardless of the kind of drinking water or standards,
the quality is always doubtful.
According to market survey data, bottled water carcinogen
bromate’s pass rate is 50% in mineral spring water, 66.7% in mineral water, and 71.4% in mountain spring water.
Except for ‘Nongfu Spring,’ ‘Nestle mineral water,’
‘Wahaha purified water,’ ‘Evian mineral spring water,’
all well-known water brands,
have had quality scandals.
What had exactly caused such a chaos
on China’s drinking water market?
Qi Qinhong: ‘The main reason is the severe competition
between the factories.
Another is the health supervision departments’
investigation is not stringent enough.
In China, we have many food safety issues, so a lot of the
responsibilities should be taken away from those departments, because their investigation is not strict.’
Experts recommend to people in Mainland China,
to filter their tap water,
and to try drink boiled or mineral water,
which is water source pollution-free.