By Dr. Mercola
Fiji's military junta has been declared unconstitutional by the country's second highest court; in response, it has abolished the judiciary, banned unauthorized public gatherings, delayed elections until 2014, and clamped down on the media.
The slogan on Fiji Water's website -- "And remember this, we saved you a trip to Fiji" -- seems like a dark joke to those who are aware of the conditions there.
Fiji Water is now America's leading imported water. The company has spent millions pushing its environmental credibility and charity work.
But nowhere in Fiji Water's glossy marketing materials will you find reference to the typhoid outbreaks that plague Fijians because of the island's faulty water supplies, the corporate entities that Fiji Water has set up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, or the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles.
And, of course, you won't find mention of the military junta for which Fiji Water is a major source of global recognition and legitimacy.
I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read through the entire Mother Jones article linked below1 as it is truly eye-opening.
Fiji Water is a favorite among celebrities and the eco-conscious, and despite being packaged in plastic disposable containers and shipped in from thousands of miles away has managed to maintain its environmentally friendly image.
But that is not even half of it.
Fiji Water, the corporation, has a 99-year lease, and almost exclusive access, to an enormous, more than 17-mile-long, aquifer on the main island. The country's corrupt and broke government was unable to obtain the infrastructure to tap into it before that, and its people struggle with continuous water problems ranging from crumbling pipes and dysfunctional water treatment plants to a lack of adequate wells and drought.
Fiji is also overrun by unconstitutional military rule that has recently banned unauthorized public gatherings, delayed elections until 2014, and taken control of the media.
The company itself, meanwhile, has gone through a couple of owners. Fiji Water founder David Gilmour also co-founded Barrick Gold, which uses billions of gallons of water to produce gold via a toxic and environmentally devastating cyanide leaching process.
Its current owners, meanwhile, own a pesticide company and have gained control of the Kern Water Bank near California's Central Valley, one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the United States.
None of this has tarnished Fiji Water's sparkling reputation, thanks in part to a $5 million "Fiji Green" marketing campaign that has managed to make drinking Fiji bottled water seem somehow "green."
It just goes to show you once again that you can't judge a book … or a bottle … by its cover.
Why You Always Need to Look Below the Surface
Fiji Water certainly exudes an image of purity, but when you look beyond their tropical bottle label you begin to see that the corporation itself may be quite tainted.
This is a lesson you can take to heart for any product you currently know and trust. It's always worth a second glance to determine the true impact of what you're buying.
There are many problems with bottled water above and beyond the Fiji brand, but the most obvious is the fact that you're paying a premium for something that is in many cases indistinguishable from regular tap water.
In fact, about 40 percent of bottled water IS regular tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.
And when you consider the massive amounts of non-biodegradable plastic required for all these billions of gallons of bottled water being consumed each year, it's no wonder we have a plastic "stew" twice the size of Texas swirling through the Pacific Ocean.
Plus, when you take into account the health hazards imparted by the chemicals leaching out of the plastic bottle itself, then bottled water really doesn't make sense anymore, no matter what the brand.
A Better Way to Get Your Water
Your best source of water is having an artesian well in your backyard, as that is some of the finest water in the world. Very few people are fortunate enough to have this, however.
Fortunately, the alternative to having pure water is simple: use a high-quality reverse osmosis filter. I am firmly convinced that is the best option. I am well aware that many are promoting a variety of alkaline water system as being superior, but I remain unconvinced.
Most all of the water I drink comes from a well in my yard. But I use a water softener that adds sodium chloride so I use an R/O filter to remove that and any contaminants that have crept into the groundwater.
I have known of these filters for over a decade and have never used them personally. I am currently in consultation with some of the leading water experts who are ready to publish a book later this year, which will go into far more scientific detail why these systems are likely best avoided.
From an economic perspective they tend to be pricey, about $1,000, but that is not the major issue as water is such an important health principle to get correct that that is a relatively small amount to pay. But for a fraction of that you can obtain a high quality R/O system and replace the filters for many years and have great water for you and your family.