Stockholm, June 14 – A new survey by Bluewater finds that over one-third of Swedish adults worry their tap drinking water contains bacteria, lead, pharmaceutical residues and general carcinogens. Millennials especially were concerned with 58% of 18 – 29-year-olds saying they worry about something nasty being in their tap water compared to only 29% of those aged 60+.
The survey, carried out in Sweden among a nationally representative sample of 1066 adults between May 2 – 7, 2018, showed more than four out of ten (42%) of Swedish adults worry about what’s in their water. Most of those surveyed feared the presence of bacteria (25%), lead (24%) or pharmaceutical residues (20%), although a whopping 14% said they worried about micro plastic particles invading their tap water.
Interestingly, despite the high level of worry about something being in their drinking water, less than 20% of the respondents said they were taking any action to control what’s coming out of their taps. Just 15% said they filtered or purified their tap water while 11% consumed bottled water.
The Bluewater survey also probed Swedish attitudes to drinking bottled water. It found that 36% of Swedes regularly drink bottled water, with 13% of the population drinking more than five bottles a week.
Bluewater President Anders Jacobson says increasing reliance on bottled water is creating a vicious cycle where the use of single-use plastic bottles of water is being normalized and creating a massive waste stream that further pollutes water supply. Bottled water may also pose a risk to human health. A study by Orb Media in March this year discovered plastic particles in 90 percent of bottled water, which has spurred a separate WHO health review.
Noting that forecasts predict the world will be producing half a trillion plastic bottles a year by 2030, Anders Jacobson said that Bluewater launched a global innovation Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge to address urban drinking water scarcity challenges.
“Worth USD1 million in deployment awards and potential follow-on investment, the award is open to entrepreneurs in Sweden and beyond to come up with promising solutions related to Alternative Supply, Distributed Access and Delivery, and Ecosystem Health,” Jacobson said.
Bluewater is also official water supplier and Sustainability Partner of the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Programme, which focuses on promoting ocean health and the eradication of single-use plastics, including bottled water. The race’s Science Programme has been testing seawater samples taken by boats during the race for levels of microplastics.
During the race stopover in Gothenburg, Bluewater President Anders Jacobson will be taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit, which showcases innovative solutions to the global crisis of plastics in our oceans.
Anne-Cecile Turner, Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Programme Leader, said: “Samples of seawater taken by our boats, as they race around the world, have found levels of microplastics in some of our remotest oceans. This clearly shows how ubiquitous plastics have become.
“The spread of these particles into our drinking water is something Swedish people are right to be worried about. Working with Bluewater, we are promoting decisive action that creates long-term solutions to the plastic problem.”
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