In a recent turn of events, local water and air purifier brand Sterra has found itself embroiled in controversy over its claims regarding microorganisms present in Singapore’s tap water. The issue came to light when Clarence Sim, a PhD student at Nanyang Technological University’s Asian School of the Environment, took to Instagram to debunk Sterra’s assertions.
The Controversial Advertisement
Sterra’s Facebook advertisement, which Sim addressed in his Instagram video posted on Feb. 1, purported to highlight the presence of microorganisms in tap water, aiming to promote one of its water purifiers. The ad’s narration painted a vivid picture of tap water teeming with bacteria and algae, instilling a sense of unease among consumers.
Dissecting the Allegations
Sim’s scrutiny of Sterra’s claims revealed significant discrepancies. He pointed out that the microorganisms featured in the advertisement, such as diatoms and leaf debris, are typically found in ponds rather than tap water. Additionally, he identified other supposed “bacteria” as algal cells and a unicellular ciliate, which are common in aquatic and soil environments.
Condemnation of Fearmongering
Sim didn’t mince words when condemning Sterra’s tactics, labeling the use of scare tactics and fake news as unethical. He emphasized that Singapore’s tap water is safe for consumption, dismissing Sterra’s portrayal of it as “nasty” as misleading. Instagram users echoed Sim’s sentiments, expressing outrage over Sterra’s fearmongering approach.
The national water agency, PUB, also weighed in on the matter, denouncing Sterra’s advertisements as containing misleading claims. PUB affirmed that Singapore’s tap water undergoes rigorous testing and complies with international quality standards. The agency revealed that it has issued advisories to Sterra, urging the company to refrain from disseminating inaccurate information about water quality.
Conclusion: Separating Fact from Fiction
As the controversy unfolds, it becomes evident that Sterra’s attempt to capitalize on consumer fears has backfired. With scientific evidence and regulatory scrutiny debunking the brand’s assertions, consumers can rest assured that Singapore’s tap water is indeed safe for consumption. Moving forward, transparency and accountability should guide advertising practices to prevent similar misinformation campaigns from sowing unwarranted doubt among the public.