The pandemic has seen bottled water sales plummet in Asia-Pacific
Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 led to lower bottled water sales in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020, according to research by global market research firm Euromonitor International.
The region has historically accounted for the largest share of bottled water sales, due to growing health and wellness awareness and a lack of access to safe drinking water, Euromonitor said in a report. But the harsh closures, including social distancing and home isolation, have drastically reduced sales.
The Philippine government’s lockdown restrictions, among the longest in the world, cut bottled water sales in the archipelago country by around 5% to 2,712.4 million liters in 2020, from 2,869, 3 million liters recorded the previous year.
“The main contributing factor to the overall decline in sales seen in the category during the year was the unavailability of on-site outlets due to the closure of the entire Philippine hospitality industry to customers on place throughout the initial lockdown period,” Euromonitor said.
As the pandemic hit the economy, major water concessionaire Manila Water resorted to permanently closing its Healthy Family bottled water business unit, citing “recurring losses and the inability to sustain operations financially.” commercial”.
When the Philippine government eased quarantine restrictions in 2021, bottled water consumption increased by 5% to 2,846 million liters, according to Euromonitor.
Access to clean water is crucial to surviving the pandemic, as staying hydrated will help people avoid contracting other diseases considered co-morbidities, said Bonifacio Magtibay, WHO technical lead for environmental health. and professional.
“Yes [drinking] water is insufficient, it will lead to dehydration. [The] the presence of diseases other than COVID-19 will be considered a comorbidity that will complicate the health of people with COVID-19,” he told SciDev.Net.
Until the early 1990s, Filipinos relied on drinking tap water, but that changed when consumers began to observe deteriorating water quality, Magtibay said. “Bottled water and water filling stations have proliferated to remedy the loss of confidence in running water systems.”
In the future, it may be possible to revert to the old practice provided the water quality meets national drinking water quality standards, Magtibay said.
In India, bottled water, which has rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade, has seen a dramatic drop in sales due to pandemic-related sales lockdowns in 2020. The pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the packaged drinking water companies, which rely heavily on offices, airlines and the hotel, restaurant and catering sector for around 50% of sales, according to the Trade Promotion Council of India.
However, according to the Council, the Indian market is expected to reach US$60.06 billion by the end of 2023 from a value of US$24.1 billion in 2018. This is due to a range of sales strategies developed by the company, including direct home deliveries.
Responding to the demand for home deliveries created by the pandemic, Bisleri International, India’s leading bottled water company, has created [email protected], a smartphone app that allows consumers to have packaged water delivered to their door within 24 hours. The service is currently available in 26 cities, according to the company’s website.
The UN has made it a priority to ensure access to drinking water and sanitation for all. In its global water development report last year, the UN said the Asia-Pacific region had the lowest per capita water availability in the world, with the region home to 60% of the world’s population. but only 36% of water resources.
“In addition to low levels of water availability per capita, high levels of water pollution are observed in the region, with more than 80% of wastewater generated in developing countries in the region going untreated. “, says the UN report.
Achieving global access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in 140 low- and middle-income countries will require a total investment of $1.7 trillion or $114 billion per year from 2016 to 2030, the UN said, citing a World Bank report.
Bottled water is convenient and relatively inexpensive, but typically comes in plastic packaging that is primarily derived from materials produced from fossil fuels, the safe and clean disposal of which is a growing concern.
In 2017, plastic bottles produced by beverage companies became the most common plastic found in beach cleanups in 2017, making them major sources of marine pollution, the nonprofit conservation group said. Oceana in a report published last year.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles sold around the world mainly contain water and soft drinks, according to the organization. These two beverage groups account for the majority (69%) of global PET bottle sales.
Oceana described the Philippines as a nation “struggling with plastic pollution”, with 80% of its plastic waste mismanaged and 21% ending up in the oceans.
EU seeks to give millions better access to safe drinking water (Update)
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