Comparison Between Tap and Bottled Water

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Comparison Between Tap and Bottled Water


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Comparison Between Tap and Bottled Water

Recent incidents in the United States and around the world have raised questions about the safety of the water we drink. Traditionally, people used to drink tap water, but recent incidences like the 2014 lead contamination in the municipal water supply in Flint, MI, have raised concerns about the safety of tap water. Consequently, many people have turned to bottled water.  On the other hand, environmentalists have raised concerns about the environmental impact of empty water bottles and also the safety of bottled water (Karlstrom & Dell’Amore, 2010). Therefore, each of the two sources of drinking water has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Compared to bottled water, tap water is advantageous for a number of reasons. To start with, tap water is cheap because it does not require packaging and is mainly distributed using pipes. Secondly, tap water does not pose a threat to the environment because it is not packaged in plastic bottles. On the other hand, bottled water is advantageous because it is convenient mostly to people who are traveling or when public water systems have been compromised by disasters like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods among others.

Both tap and bottled water have environmental drawbacks and advantages. To begin with, empty water bottles can take over 1,000 years to biodegrade, therefore causing environmental pollution. Also, transporting bottled water and maintaining it cold involves burning fossil fuels which emit greenhouse gases into the air, therefore contributing to global warming. Moreover, there is a lot of water wastage from the catchment, bottling, and delivery to the end consumer. On its part, the main disadvantage of piped water is that there is the risk of contamination from delivery systems like lead pipes.

The first point that I see as scientifically unbiased is that bottled water is not necessarily secure than tap water. According to a study carried by the Environmental Working Group, bottled water sometimes contains harmful industrial chemicals (Karlstrom & Dell’Amore, 2010). Secondly, the plastic bottles used to package water contain polyethylene terephthalate, and if recycled, as they usually are, they can produce toxic chemical like benzyl butyl phthalate which are harmful to humans. The one argument that I find biased is that the solution to health and environmental concerns associated with bottled water is banning its sale.


Karlstrom, Solvie & Dell’Amore, C. (2010, March 13) Why tap water is better than bottled water. National Geographic. Retrieved from