Bottles of water on a table at a swab isolation facility in the JTC Space·Tuas building in Singapore, 10 May 2020. EFE/EPA/FILE/WALLACE WOON

Singapore leads world in bottled water consumption per capita

Singapore, Mar 22 (EFE).- Singaporeans consume more bottled water than any other country in the world, despite the wide availability of potable tap water in the wealthy Asian nation, a United Nations institute has said in a report to mark World Water Day Wednesday.

On average, Singaporeans drank 1,129 liters of bottled water at a cost of $1,348 per person in 2021, the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) report found.

This puts Singapore far ahead of Australia, which has the second highest consumption of bottled water per capita with an average of 504 liters per person and an annual cost of $386.

The high personal expenditure on bottled water in Singapore, a country of 5.6 million people which boasts one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, comes despite general availability of drinkable tap water, according to the World Health Organization.

The UN report on bottled water, published last week and based on a study of 109 countries, found that the average yearly spending on bottled water per person was $34 in an industry that grew 34% between 2010 and 2020.

The report predicted that sales of bottled water would double by 2030 from $270 billion per year to $500bn.

Bottled water consumption is highest in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by North American and Europe. Some 60% of sales occur in the Global South – Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among the European nations surveyed by the report, Germany was the leading consumer of bottled water while Mexico led the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The report said it pulled together “scattered information” on plastic pollution linked to the bottled water industry, highlighting that of the average production of 600 billion plastic bottles amounted to roughly 25 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or unregulated waste sites.EFE