I guess we all have been worried about the water quality in Hong Kong at some point of time. During my first years here I carried numerous six packs of water in plastic bottles from the ParknShop across the street to my flat and always felt a bit bad. Especially because back then I did not recycle and thus ended up with loads of empty plastic bottles. This is very tough for a German because we Germans are CRAZY about recycling. You don't believe me? Try this in Germany: Rock up to one of the many recycling containers with a trolley full of bottles and throw them in the wrong container and see what happens. Mayhem... By the way, I do recycle now thanks to HK Recycles. Of course I knew that this is expensive and not very ecologically sensitive but I only later on I learned that the global bottled water industry consumes millions of barrels of oil and produces a lot of waste water (roughly 3 liters of waste water for every 1 liter of bottled water) in the production of marketable drinking water. Plastic water bottles take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade, and can produce toxic fumes if incinerated.
The Case Against Bottled Water
On top of that not only the Hong Kong Consumer Council found that the mineral content of bottled water is either low or very low and many contain traces of impurities like lead, arsenic and nitrate. You can find the article here. Even though the report is from 1998 successive studies and recent tests in other parts of the world confirm this. Bottled water is actually less regulated than common tap water. Hence I am now carrying a stainless steel water bottle with filtered water around and stay away from buying any bottles of water.
Why You Should Use An Effective Water Filter
Yes, I filter my tap water and so should (most) of you. Why? After all the Water Supplies Department has established an extensive water treatment system to assure consistent, high-quality drinking water for us. The city’s purification system consists of a multi-step treatment process. The end result of this heavily-monitored process is a water supply that conforms chemically and bacteriologically to all standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to drinking water. Thus, in theory we should all be able to enjoy fresh tap water without any concerns over quality.
However, drinking water must still travel through building pipes and storage tanks, many of them aging, poorly-maintained, and possibly containing dangerous substances or materials such as lead or chlorine disinfection byproducts. Boiling your tap water before consumption is not a solution either. It kills any microorganisms and bacterial but it will only reduce the amount of chlorine and not remove any minerals or pollutants like lead. So what can we do to assure that our drinking water is clean and healthy, given that the pipework and water tanks in our buildings are not reliable? The only viable solution is an effective home or office water filtration system. The following section outlines the most popular means of water filtration in Hong Kong.
Water Filtration Systems
- Reverse Osmosis Filter
- Activated Carbon Filter
- Ultraviolet (UV) Treatment
- Micro-filtration /Ultra-filtration
- Ionized "Alkalized" Water
The Reverse Osmosis Scam
There is unfortunately an abundance of misinformation about what water filtration system to use in Hong Kong. On top of that some dubious companies are using a scam to trick people into buying expensive water filtration technologies that are unnecessary. If you would like to learn about the different water filtration systems and which filtration method Vivid Living would recommend please Sign up for our newsletter here and download our FREE White Paper here.