Steven Mahoney: Three problems with bottled water

APTOPIX Texas DroughtBottled water has a huge environmental cost. Clean drinking water is often widely available and low cost, so in almost all cases bottling it is unnecessary and wasteful. Most water bottles are made from a type of plastic called PET, which is made from fossil fuels, according to the Pacific Institute. Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2006, according to the Pacific Institute. The institute also reports that it takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water.

2. Bottled water is often taken from drought-stricken areas. According to an article from Mother Jones, bottled water is sometimes drawn from drought-stricken areas. For example, Aquafina, Dasani, Arrowhead and Crystal Geyser draw their water from drought-stricken areas in California. Many of these areas have been drought-stricken for more than four years in a row. The industry argues that they are pulling a small amount of the overall water drawn, but this defense means nothing because these companies are taking water from scarce areas and then selling it back to people at a profit.

Still-bottled-waters-group-shot_slide

A ProPublica report says that as surface water is drying up, 60 percent of California’s water now comes from ground water. Not all ground water is renewable. CBC News reports that less than 6 percent of groundwater is replenished within 50 years. ProPublica says that pumping groundwater can dry up surface water as these systems are often interconnected, but lawmakers argue the present-day economic benefits outweigh future concerns.

 Bottled Water is unethical. Corporations are taking a natural resource required for life and then selling back to us for a disgusting amount of profit.

California-bottled water is marked up 560 times the cost of Californian tap water, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Good Housekeeping reports that near 50 percent of bottled water is filtered municipal tap water.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than a third of all counties in the 48 continental states will experience water shortages by 2050 as a result of global warming. Proponents of bottled water argue that the private sector and free market will be able to provide for the people’s needs in this doomsday scenario, but it’s even more likely that as fresh water becomes more scarce, the price will increase, which will put drinking water out of reach for some.

 

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