April 14, 2008

Water–Bottled Water

Water–Bottled Water
Mary Banas

Why bottled water? (or why not bottled water...)
• Bottled water bottles are made from oil, a limited resource. Just making the containers alone consumes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year, according to the Earth Policy Institute. (Maybe we should get rid of the cars, but that’s a topic for another time.)

• It takes a lot of oil to transport bottled water from supposedly pristine springs all over the world to us. That bottle of Fiji water really does come from Fiji — and it doesn’t walk here by itself.
And all those trucks eventually clog our roads and double park in front of stores and offices to deliever their unneeded goods. But that’s just the production half of the equation, there’s the disposal too:

• Thirty million bottles end up in landfills every day — and considering that New York doesn’t have its own landfill anymore, we have to pay to dump our empty water bottles elsewhere.

• New York City tap water is safer and better than bottled water anyway. The Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for tap water, for example, is stiffer than the Food and Drug Administration’s standard for bottled water. Plus, our tap water tastes better than all those fancy waters (the Aquafina that’s bottled in Queens actually is New York City tap water — which is then distilled and reconfigured with Aquafina’s proprietary mix of minerals.)

How it works?

• The world spends $100 billion a year on bottled water at a time when the United Nations says that just $15 billion could double the number of people who have access to safe drinking water.

• And, rich people consume far more bottled water than poor people — so if tap water quality declines, it will fall to the politically less powerful to fight for cleaner water because the rich have turned their backs on the entire system.

What the individual can do:

1. At home, use a cup and fill it with tap water
2. On the go bring along a reusable hard plastic bottle and refill as necessary with tap water, remember to wash it periodically.
3. At the office, leave behind some mugs and cups that you can use there, again washing them periodically - the same applies to your morning coffee
4. If you end up having no choice and bottled is all there is available, save that bottle and reuse it later when you see a tap or a water fountain.

• less carbon
• utilizing resources close to home instead of depleting those half way around the world (like the island of fiiji)
The Pacific Island Countries also face critical water supply and contamination problems because of the inability of governments to maintain ageing water reticulation and treatment systems set up during the colonial period. Fiji has the largest water system in the Pacific Islands based on an economy of scale, but this is a legacy from when Fiji was a British colony. The system has deteriorated steadily since Fiji became independent and is now a major impediment to future tourism development. Between 1991 and 1995, for example, the amount of water lost through broken pipes, leaks, and clandestine connections increased from 36% to 43%

Implementation in other cities
City of NY---campaign to drink tap water

The City of New York is trying to persuade its people to give up bottled drinks and consume tap water instead to help protect the environment.

According to published reports, the city is pouring $700,000 of taxpayer money into ads promoting New York City water.

New York City boasts wonderfully clean water piped in from six huge reservoirs west of the Hudson in the Catskill mountains, as far as 125 miles from Manhattan. The city is currently running a huge campaign for New Yorkers to "Get Your Fill." But is New York water really that clean? ABC news' 20/20 took 5 bottles of national brands and a sample of New York water to be tested by a microbiologist. They found no difference between the samples.


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