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WIN! Mexico imposes tax on soft drinks to provide drinking water

In December 2012, we noted in a campaign blog that La Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (The Alliance for Healthy Food) and its member groups have demanded a tax on soft drinks and for that money to be allocated to the introduction of drinking water fountains in schools and in public spaces across Mexico.

An update from La Alianza at that time highlighted, “Claudia Campero, who is with the Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Water (COMDA), said the Constitution provides that: ‘Everyone has the right to access to water and sanitation provision for personal and household consumption as sufficient, safe, acceptable and affordable.’ The lack of access to drinking water is often replaced by soda or sugary drinks. ‘The State shall guarantee the right to drinking water for people to stay healthy,’ she said.”

Along with Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua (COMDA, as noted above), the Blue Planet Project and Food & Water Watch are also members of the Alliance.

Today, the Toronto Star reports, “Approved by the Mexican government last October, a new tax on sugar-laden soft drinks is now coming into effect in a country deemed to be suffering the worst obesity problem of any nation in the world. …The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed the new measure and says it will use revenues generated by the tax to provide clean drinking water in Mexican schools, many of which either have no reliable water supply or must make do with water that is not potable.”

“The measure imposes a 10 per cent per-litre tax on the sale of sugary beverages.”

And the Guardian UK reports, “The tax was passed in October, to the surprise even of many of its supporters, after an unprecedented, hard-hitting advertising campaign from civil society organisations funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. …The money to be raised, estimated at 15bn pesos, is intended to be earmarked for drinking water in schools – in some communities there is none, while in others it is not potable and bottled soft drinks are safer. The earmarking of the tax has still to pass a final stage in the senate. Civil society groups say they will monitor implementation closely, to ensure it does not become part of a general pool of government funding.”

While wishing that a 20 per cent per-litre tax had been adopted, and noting that the drinking fountains still need to be properly put in schools and public spaces, Campero says, “Against all odds, the tax is now in place, a huge achievement!”

Further reading
Civil society in Mexico calls for tax on soft drinks to fund drinking water fountains