Quencher Life is the most polluting water brand in Kenya, audit reveals

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In a brand audit carried out by Clean Up Kenya and Nairobi Recyclers (NAREC) between March and July 2021, it has been established that Quencher Life is the most polluting water brand in Kenya. Quencher Life is a product of Excel Chemicals Limited.

Of the 5,338 plastic water bottles audited, 655 were found to be from Quencher Life representing 12.27 percent. When included together with all other PET bottles from the other categories of Sodas, Energy Drinks and Juices, Quencher Life has a national score of 5.3 percent from 12,288 bottles.

The audit found 340 water brands.

While most have the Kenya Bureau Of Standards (KEBS) mark, it is unclear whether they all have the necessary legal requirements to operate and whether they adhere to any health and safety standards, something this research did not investigate.

Many, with further reports also set to be released, lacks complete contact labelling. For example, some brands do not show the location where they are packaged, or lacks a telephone number where anyone can make enquiries or an email or website. While the provision of some of these contacts is not required by law, lack of them on labelling may indicate a brand producer is harder to locate or may be hiding something about their operations. This is critical for a country that has too many water brands per capita. By comparison, the United States of America with a population of 300 million, has 195 verified water brands according to a Wikipedia article, while Kenya with a population of around 50 million the research picked 340 water brands. That is why contact information on labels is important.

There is no evidence that Excel Chemicals, the company behind Quencher Life, is doing much to reduce their plastic footprint in the country, including participating in community cleanups or anti-littering sensitizations campaigns. It may, however, be possible that the organization contributes funds to Kenya Association of Manufacturers for these activities, funds which largely end up in the bank accounts of a few corporations marketing themselves as Producer Responsibility Organizations and do little to help reduce plastic waste in communities.

It is not clear why Quencher Life is the most water polluting brand since we also have other established brands including Dasani, Keringet, Aquamist, Highlands and others.

ABOUT CLEAN UP KENYA

Established in 2015, Clean Up Kenya is a national advocacy organization working to hold to account government duty bodies, state officers, corporations, green-washing Non-Governmental Organizations, and domestic and commercial polluters for Kenya’s public sanitation crisis. We primarily work with communities to advance their rights to sustainable public sanitation. As experts in community mobilizing for cleanups, we have conducted numerous projects across the country with some being attended by over 1000 volunteers. At the core of our work is honest and actual involvement in communities – not PR events. We receive no funding for our work but collaborate with other like-minded organizations both nationally and internationally on projects.