Monday Menu: Bottled water and human rights

Photo: Wikimedia

Photo: Wikimedia

Have you ever thought about the fact that bottled water might be having an impact on one of man’s most basic human rights – access to water? It’s all about commodification and boils down to money, says Maria Macarena Pereda of the University of Pretoria, in a mini-thesis she completed as part of her LLM degree.

“In certain circumstances, the bottled water industry, far from fostering the realisation of the human right to water, may negatively impact on its realisation,” writes Pereda, who thought about the matter within the context of the worldwide problem of unequal access to water.

She says bottled water infringes on people’s human rights because the industry is part of a larger trend of water commodification that reinforces a project of restricted access to water. This promotes institutional structures where only those with economic means can have access to the most important and essential element for human survival – water in this instance.

Her study was an attempt to determine how the bottled water industry fits in the project of universal and equitable access represented by the recognition of water as a human right.

To read her full dissertation, visit the University of Pretoria repository.

Engela Duvenage

Co-founder of SciBraai.co.za. Day job: Science writer and science communicator who loves turning research papers into news stories. And writing about cookies and writers if I get the chance. Claim to fame: mother of two daughters. Background: MPhil (Journalism, specialising in science journalism) and HonsBA (Psychology). Disclaimer: Before starting a freelancing career I worked for Stellenbosch University, so please excuse my inability not to write about some of its people and projects. Ditto for other clients I have worked for.

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