Illegal water bottling is a serious challenge according to the general assembly of the recently formed the Ethiopian Bottled Water and Soft Drinks Manufacturing Industries Association (EBWSDMIA).
One of the participants, who attended the meeting at Harmony Hotel on August 1, stated that the illegal bottlers are creating a huge problem.
The participant said he has seen many illegal bottlers operating on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Not only are they using below standard plastic packaging, they are also putting not-potable water into the bottles.
“There needs to be a way to ensure that people drinking bottled water are in fact getting pure water,” he said. Plastic product producers have to be asked about their activity, where they are getting their supply, and who is behind their products,” he added.
At the meeting other participants agreed that unscrupulous businesspeople are creating an unsafe environment.
Recently the association was able to stop the neck sleeve production in bottled waters.
The association argued that it is the major reason for illegal activity since users give attention to the neck sleeves to know if the product is genuine or not. If the package is sealed it is more likely to be authentic.
Getnet Belay, President of EBWSDMIA, recently said that it would be difficult for people making bottled water to produce the top packaging, while the neck sleeve can be easily sealed.
Neck sleeves have been banned as of July 23. Some are still using it though.
The association has also requested the central back to block the letter of credit for the import of neck sleeves.
At the meeting officials of EBWSDMIA advised bottlers to investigate their sales and marketing staff that might be working in cahoots with fake water bottlers. Recently Capital reported that the police are investigating illegal water bottlers.