“The origin of FIJI® Natural Artesian Water is rainfall, which over decades filters into an aquifer deep beneath volcanic highlands and pristine tropical forests on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. Separated by over 1,500 miles of the open Pacific from the nearest continent, this virgin ecosystem protects one of the purest waters in the world.”
So reads the back of a bottle of FIJI® water. The thing is, I live on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji and I can tell you that it’s not simply “volcanic highlands” and “pristine tropical forests”. I did try to cleverly disprove their next statement for effect, but despite my limited research efforts it does appear that Fiji is “separated by over 1,500 miles of the open Pacific from the nearest continent” (1736.63 miles to Brisbane, Australia). Fine, I’ll give them that but I do wonder who would reasonably include the diapers, car tires, and plastic bottles that wash up on the beach in front of my house as part of a “virgin ecosystem” (there – my rant feels more ranty now). Don’t get me wrong – the ideals of Fiji so alive in our imaginations do exist, but they certainly don’t make up the totality of what’s real. The fact of the matter is that between the ideal and the real there’s a gap, and we’re going to mind it.
My name is William Strachan. I’m reporting live from Fiji.