John Gapper’s piece “Bottled water should be a luxury, not a necessity” (Opinion, FT Weekend, March 20) fails to identify the source of our thirst for mineral water. The narrative is neatly packaged for easy consumption; individuals are thoughtlessly purchasing a bottled product that has an environmentally friendly equivalent from the tap.
Let’s consider that “natural mineral water” from sources such as Evian and San Pellegrino, are not only unique in their mineral composition, but are the most highly regulated foodstuff in the EU and UK.
No other product, let alone one that is vital to wellbeing, offers the assurances of provenance, consistency of minerals and microbiological purity; implicit is the guarantee of being free from the presence of oestrogen, pharmaceuticals and excessive nitrates. A bubbly concoction of fluid reasoning and a soda stream cannot ameliorate the divergence in regulatory requirements between the two protagonists.
Furthermore, the minerals in water are the most bio-available of any foodstuff. Magnesium, calcium, sodium, sulphates and bicarbonates are all vital to our bodies’ natural functions. As an example, the levels of silica in sources such as Volvic and Fiji, naturally flush aluminium toxicity from the body.
Geologically, the presence of volcanic regions in mainland Europe offers sources with an abundance of minerals and also natural carbonation (hence the “distinctive taste” of Badoit and Perrier). Geographically it is unavoidable that these must be imported for consumption by residents of the UK.
The misfortune of Covid has further enlightened individuals’ appreciation of personal wellness; we should be petitioning our government to implement bottle recycling schemes that enable optimised consumption practices, not targeting informed and reasonable choices with lofty insouciance.
Managing Director, Aquaminerologist and Certified Water Sommelier,
London SW18, UK