Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Bottled Water Scam and the Absence of Sustainability

Chances are you've seen an over-the-top ad for bottled water at some point in your life. The voice- over artist will predictably start singing high praises for the divine purity of the spring this bottled water was magically procured from.
This is usually followed by a sensual display of perfectly clear water pouring like this:


Why is Bottled Water Bad?

  • Over 80% of the containers are thrown in the trash, instead of being recycled. Journalist Chris Baskind wrote this about the massive waste, "Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce." This is nowhere near sustainable, nor environmentally healthy. Todd Jarvis, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University estimated that "it takes about 72 billion gallons of water a year, worldwide,"to produce all of the plastic bottles.
  • It's a terrible financial decision. Brands like Coca Cola-owned 'Dasani' are being sold anywhere from 5-25 cents per ounce. Your tap water costs you all but 1 cent per gallon.  That's what you call a serious mark up. Former bottled water drinker, Lisa Ledwidge, had this to say of her decision to stop: "You’re spending more per gallon than you would on gasoline for this thing that you can get out of the tap virtually for free."
  • There is not sufficient evidence that suggests that it's any healthier than tap water. Eric Goldstein, co-director of the urban program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stated that "over 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal supply."  In addition, the companies themselves are not required to reveal the source on their labels. It's also worth noting that the chemicals that make the plastics softer are also contained in: "cosmetics, fragrances and shower curtains." Some 60-70% of the bottled water is free from FDA regulation.  
  • The documentary"Blue Gold:World Water Wars," details the escalating arms race between different multinational corporations to purchase groundwater reserves and distribution rights from locations all over the world for bottled water. This is the privatization of a basic human right.  There has been many instances of these huge corporations coming in and forever altering the natives' way of life. One particular case in Ghana, Africa stands out. The water that they've drunk for thousands of years before now gets rationed out to them. It flows just once a week at variable times. Most can't even afford 10 gallons in a week, it's that expensive. They are also charged for turning the tap on just to check if the water is running when it's not. They are often must resort to drinking the cholera contaminated water near their home, and people get sick, the government pays for it, and it's all one destructive cycle.


What can we do?
1) Buy a sustainable containers to store your tap water in.
2) Make your statement with your wallet this year.
3) Tell others in your community about the dangers plastics     pose to our environment, and raise awareness about the economic insanity of bottled water.  
4) Get involved in spreading awareness of the dangers of commoditization of the most essential human need.   


         

No comments:

Post a Comment