Among the poor countries, the public sector is charged with the responsibility of of all the water (Segerfeldt para. 1) and as such, the sector is largely responsible for failing to provide the more than one billion individuals with clean and safe water. Privatization of water leads to better incentives and superior competencies. Attempts to privatize the waters of the world have however , not to mention stirring strong emotions and feelings among those affected.
Privatization ends up treating water as a commodity, and not a human right and so in the long-run, the poor have no access to it. On paper, water is regarded as a basic human right but still, one has to pay for it. To gain a further insight into the issue of privatization of the worlds waters, the paper shall examine three articles.
First, Joshua Ortegas article, water wars: bottling up the worlds supply of water shall be explored. The article, private water saves lives by Fredrik Segerfeldt shall also be assessed and finally, Jeff Fleischers article, Blue Gold: An interview with Maude Barlow will also be examined.
As Segerfeldt (para. 1) notes, over 1 billion people globally, a majority of them from the poor nations, lacks access to safe and clean water. This is despite that fact that only about 8 per cent of all the water available globally is sued for purposes of human consumptions.
This is an indication that the inability of the more than 1 billion individuals globally to access clean and safe water is not as a result of water shortage, but is due to bad policies. For example Segerfeldt (para. 1) observes that Cherrapunji, India often regarded as the world wettest place, also suffers from periodic water shortages.
The public sector manages about ninety-seven percent of the entire water distribution channels in the poor countries and as such, it could be held responsible for the lack of access to clean and safe water by the more than 1 billion individuals in these countries. Those poor nations that have decided to privatize the water sector have witnessed an increasingly higher number of the citizens accessing water, in comparison with the other nations in which water is still managed by the public sector.
Privatization the water sector results in an improved scope of distribution and quality of water. This has culminated in violent demonstrations and protests globally. International trade agreements have also played a pivotal role in the commercialization and privatization of the worlds water.
For example, the definition of a good, as provided for by GATT, also included water. Initially, NAFTA sought to include water as a good and then later on, changed it into an investment. This therefore gave the members countries the impetus to privatize it.
The issue of scarcity has also played a significant role in helping to facilitate the privatization of water (Fleischer para. 3). This has effectively resulted in a mushrooming of companies that are involved in the bottling and sale of water. For example, nowadays, we have come to accept bottled water as part of our lives and for this reason you will find it on planes and in restaurants. Therefore, because access to safe and clean water has become hard, people have now turned to drinking bottled water.
A lot of people hold the perception that compared with tap water, bottled water tends to be more pure and healthy. However, as Ortega has noted, this is nothing more than a marketing illusions (para. 1). As he has further reported, a 1999 study by NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) revealed that one out of every five samples of bottled water that the four-year study had sampled contained such carcinogens and neurotoxins as toluene, xylene, and styrene.
Tap water is regulated more stringently in comparison with bottled water, in spite of popular misconceptions. As a matter of fact, bottled water may contain certain levels or fecal coliform ofEscherichia coliunder regulations, unlike tap water. Furthermore, it is not mandatory to disinfect bottled water for Guardia or cryptosporidium.
One wonders then how contaminated tap water finds its way into the U. S. market. It is important to note that the bottled water industry enjoys very relaxed regulations, not to mention that the standards for bottled water are less-stringent in comparison with those of tap water. As a public resource, it is important to ensure that the consumer has access to extensive documentation in the content and quality of tap water (Ortega para. 5).
On the other hand, because bottled water is treated as a soft drink, as opposed to a public resource, this could help explain the less-stringent regulations. If the global public water resources are to be commercialized through a privatization process, would we be faced with a relaxation of the hitherto stringent regulations that characterizes public water? If this were to happen, then we can no longer be guaranteed of clean and safe water and this culminate in a rising epidemic of water borne disease and deaths.
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