Today, many water companies bottle water for sale where consumers get it from the retail stores and shops. However, environmentalists believe that water should not be bottled because it is a human right. In addition, it is not fair especially to the developing countries where people have low access to clean water and cannot afford to buy the bottled one. According to the utilitarianism theory, the decision on whether to bottle water for sale should be based on the better good of the majority (Crane and Matten 2007). In making this decision, one has to consider who are at a benefit when water is bottled and who are at a disadvantage. In general, one has to consider the consequences that follow each decision that can be made. Where the majority falls automatically determines the decision.
Bottling of water has been around for a long time in all countries. People use bottled water for drinking. It is very convenient especially when traveling on long journeys where one cannot be sure to get safe drinking water. However, environmentalists discourage bottling of water on the notion that is inhuman because water is supposed to be a right for every person. This raises many questions as to whether it would benefit the majority or just a few to stop bottling of water. This raises an ethical dilemma because both sides have benefits and drawbacks. According to utilitarianism, it requires quantifying the benefits in order to determine the option that favors majority.
In this case, bottling water has several consequences to a country. To make the decision it is important to consider which of the consequences would achieve the better benefit to the most people within a country. One of the consequences or benefits is that bottling water means selling it for revenue. Where there is revenue, a country will benefit from the tax paid. In addition to taxes paid, the country can benefit from creation of employment for the people. Therefore, bottling of water makes a contribution to the economy through paying of taxes and creation of employment, which will be lost if bottling is stopped. In addition to economic benefits, there is the benefit that people derive from bottled water such as convenience while on long journeys. It also allows athletes or people who engage in sports to have safe water to drink on their routines (McGee 2008).
Although this might sound convincing that water should be bottled, this decision can only be made after considering the disadvantages that follow. One of its main disadvantages is that it reduces the focus to public systems. Allowing private companies to won water sources and commoditize them reduces the chances of maintaining good public services to the people. This privatization of water has had a negative effect on economies where people who cannot afford bottled water are left out (Baskind 2010). Another disadvantage is that it means increased garbage because majority of the bottles are not recycled and end up polluting the environment. The effects of environmental pollution are quite big such as loss of biodiversity. Due to their slow decaying rate, majority of all the plastics ever produced still exist within the environment, meaning they continue to pollute (Baskind 2010). Another disadvantage is that bottled water is not worth its value. Many people drink bottled water on the notion that it is safe than tap water while the truth is that there is no difference (Baskind 2010). Therefore, a cheaper option to bottled water exists.
to the benefits and disadvantages discussed, it is clear that using the
utilitarian theory the best option for the good of majority in a country is
stopping bolted water (Crane and Matten 2007). This would offer countries more
benefits, such as reduced environmental pollution that are among the major
causes of water insufficiency, ensuring that countries focus on the public
systems that can ensure access of basic commodities to the greater number of
people. In addition, it will allow governments to focus on cheaper means of
providing safe water to all people especially those who cannot afford safe
water. In general, stopping bottling of water will avoid the greater pain of
majority and increase their pleasure.
Baskind, C 2010, 5 ‘Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water’, Mother Nature Network, viewed November 13, 2013, http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/5-reasons-not-to-drink-bottled-water
Crane, A., Matten, D., & Crane, A 2007, Business ethics: managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
McGee, R W 2008, Corporate governance in transition economies, New York, Springer.