Tibet’s water is being sold in bottles and it is not good owing to the fragile environmental condition of the Tibetan plateau. Water from Tibet’s mountain glacier is being bottled to be sold mainly in China and else where in the world which is being seen a new point of growth for China’s booming bottled water industry.
Using tax benefits and other benefits from government, China has been encouraging those firms and companies venturing in the production of Tibet’s bottled water. The downstream water bodies of those rivers flowing into mainland China have been rendered unhealthy due to highly level of pollution from chemical wastes thrown into it. Water from Tibetan plateau is drawing more demand due to the fact that Tibet’s environmental conditions are comparatively unpolluted and pure.
“The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is not only an important source of water for China but also the source of 10 of Asia’s major rivers that flow on to South Asia. The region is also known as “the third pole” because it holds the largest stores of fresh water outside the north and south poles.” said the report in The Guardian.
In an effort to ship more bottled water from Tibet, China is planning to produce five million tonnes a year by 2020. However, there more concerns over the environmental implications from this initiative than appreciations over the fact that local glaciers have shrunk 15 per cent in the last three decades and in the long run it will lead to a disastrous dry up of the rivers downstream; that is the live line major population in Asia.
“Any development could also have a major impact on the wider region’s water security. Aggressive plans to build an extra 124 gigawatts of hydropower on transboundary rivers in the region have already raised geopolitical tensions with countries downstream.” added the report.
While as much as four bottles worth of water are used to produce a bottled water that reaches the store, there are companies like the Qomolangma Glacier Water are relying on sources of religious significance that has built its bottling operation inside the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve, which is not in compliance with the sentiments of the local people. More than 28 licenses for the business have been approved by 2014 since the government opened the gates more than a decade ago.
“If the bottled water industry runs wild, this could lead to a new set of environmental problems. There are no environment impact assessments and the majority of companies haven’t released reports on water-source protection, pollution control, water efficiency or benefits for local people.”