Sabari Jalam is packaged mineral water developed by the Kerala Forest Department, a venture with a theme different from one of merely selling mineral water. The idea of the Department was to reduce the load of many millions of plastic bottles thrown into the forest by Sabarimala pilgrims during every pilgrimage season. After the 2007 pilgrimage season, alarmed at the sight of empty bottles collected by the members of the Eco-development Committees (EDC), the Department decided to provide safe drinking water to the trekking prilgrims in returnable bottles. The scheme was to be implemented through the Eco-development Committees in Periya West Forest Division. Even though a very good source of water was developed by the side of the Azhutha River, a tributary of the Holy River Pamba, statutory requirements for supplying packaged drinking water made ISI certification mandatory.
Since the Department was deeply committed to the cause of a plastic free environment, the Condedaration of Eco-development Committees was supported by the Department to proceed with the rigorous certification procedures by setting up of modern chemical and microbiological testing laboratories with trained man power. Finallly, in November 2009, the packaged mineral water of Periyar forests was certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
During the festival season of 2009-10, mineral water was supplied to the pilgrims trekking along the traditional route. A novel sustem of buying back the empty bottles by paying one rupee to anybody who returns a bottle was introduced. Through this means, more than 75 percent of the bottles could be bought back, a situation which was extremely encouraging.
The business motto behind Sabari Jalam is not to capture a sizeable market share, but to continue the relentless fight against the plastic pollution of the forest floor. Sabari Jalam has already won the distinction of being the best quality packaged mineral water available in the market.