Pollution fears make Mexico top bottled water drinker

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Mexico has become the world's top drinker of bottled water in per capita terms due to public fears of pollution in regular water supply, said a marketing firm's report released on Monday.

A Mexican consumes an annual average of 234 liters of bottled water, almost as much as the combined consumption of an American plus a Spaniard, said the report by Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

Mexico consumes 13 percent of the world's bottled water, and bottled water consumption had risen 8.1 percent in 2009, or an increase of 40 percent since 2004, the BMC said.

Mexicans began drinking bottled water in large quantities after schools and cities shut down public drinking fountains.

Lack of access to clean water and fears of water pollution prompted many Mexicans to drink bottled water, said the country's Freshwater Action Network.

Meanwhile, the nation's Environment Ministry said that some 85 percent of water processed by municipal facilities is potable, but most Mexicans do not think it is safe to drink water from the municipal tap.

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