don’t drink bottled water! drink tap

by Sam on October 15, 2010

Or should I say, try and avoid drinking it as much as possible.

Without sounding like too much of a goody-too-shoes, I have been recycling for most of my adult life.  I lived in the US for a couple of years and in Europe for a few, so this all helped entrench a behaviour that is a philosophy and a way of life.

My sister was an environmental activist, so this created further awareness on the issues.

I cannot throw glass away.  I have a panic attack.

When I watch friends throw glass in the bin I break into a slight sweat.

My way of counteracting this control freak element is to spend some time trying to convince them to recycle and I have converted a good few of the less ‘environmentally concerned’ types.

I drink a lot of water, and I am old enough to have lived in a world without the existence of bottled versions unless on an overseas holiday.

I have also been a tap water activist for a very long time, so this combined with the above background led me to signing up to ‘Blog Action Day 2010′ , which is an initiative that deals with all manner of water issues like: water as a human right, water; and its food, technology and fashion footprint, water and poverty and bottled water etc.

The issues around bottled water and the scourge it has on our planet can best be described in this very well put together little video clip by Annie Leonard.

It’s well worth the watch.

It really is about the severe negative environmental impact that bottled water has on our planet. From the manufacturing of the bottles, to the waste, and to the general misconception that bottled water is any shape, fashion or form better than tap water.

A lot of the time it is in fact tap water sold back to us with a 4000% mark up, its not from the mountain spring as the brand name or image might indicate.

There are obviously times when one HAS to buy and drink bottled water, but I think in general just get aware, and try and do it less, recycle it if you have to and the world will be a better place.

A little summary of some of the issues around water — and golly gosh there are a lot, taken from the ‘Blog Action Day’ website:

The problem of scarce clean water:

Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes a litany of struggles, diseases and even death.

  • 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. More Info »
  • 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions. More Info »
  • Wars Over Water:Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa. More Info »
  • A Human Right: In July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over. But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water. More Info »

Water over-consumption in industrialized countries:

While the developing world faces a water crisis, those in industrialized countries consume far more than their fair share.

  • Food Footprint: It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. More Info »
  • Technology Footprint:The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that’s 40 million liters to charge those alone. More Info »
  • Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. More Info »
  • Bottled Water Footprint: The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »

Water and the environment:

The disregard for water resources in industrialized countries impacts more than humans – it causes environmental devastation.

  • Waste Overflow: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities. More Info »
  • Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. More Info »
  • Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. More Info »

Water solutions:

The good news is that there are great organizations working on solutions and new tools that empower people to do their part to address the water crisis.

  • Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
  • Technology for Good: Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There’s an app for that. More Info »
  • Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »
  • Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. More Info »
  • Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.More Info »

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rosemary October 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

I also drink lots of water and unless tap is not available, will always choose to drink tap water. I choose tap and thank you to all the people that supply me with good water – so glad I don’t have to carry my daily water. I have done it while on a hike (8 days) and I can tell you, water is very heavy.

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