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The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water
Americans spent more than $10.8 billion on bottled water in 2006. What was that money really spent on? What is the environmental impact of billions of dollars worth of bottled water? Does bottled water offer any real benefits other than convenience?
Types of bottled water
Bottled water comes in many varieties. Bottled water is classified into types based on their water source.
- Artesian – Artesian water comes from confined aquifers.
- Mineral – Mineral water is obtained from underground and physically protected underground water sources. To be considered mineral water, the water must contain at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids.
- Spring – Spring water comes from an underground source from which the water flows naturally.
- Purified – Purified water is filtered municipal water or tap water Purified water can be filtered through various methods such as distillation, de-ionization or reverse osmosis.
While bottled water may seem superior to tap water, consider this fact – if you’re drinking Aquafini or Dasani water, you’re drinking filtered tap water.
Is bottled water safe?
According to a 1999 study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), NRDC tested 1,000 bottles of 103 different brands of bottled water to conclude that bottled water in the United States is “not necessarily safer or cleaner than tap water.” Water The NRDC went on to say that about a quarter of the brands tested contained contaminants and “violated strict applicable conditions. [California] Bottled water limit”
Our municipal water is subject to what Food and Water Watch calls “rigorous testing,” with more than 100 tests completed each month. Bottling plants considered relatively low risk (by some) are inspected less than once a year.
Understanding the environmental cost of bottled water
According to SIGG, “More than 100 million plastic water bottles end up in America’s landfills — every day!” Given this fact, landfill waste is an obvious concern. Unfortunately he is not alone.
Exploitation of water supply
We live in a world of diminishing resources. Water is a precious commodity. We are overtaxing the water resources of developing countries while consuming scarce artesian and mineral water. Is it fair to bottle up the natural resources of developing countries at the expense of their indigenous inhabitants?
Production and transportation costs
According to Ling Lee of Food and Water Watch, “The production, bottling and packaging of bottled water requires energy, so it basically uses gas and oil. And then when you ship bottled water, you use a lot of gas and create carbon dioxide emissions. ” Should we pay for bottled water when we already pay for municipal water infrastructure?
Filling up our landfills
By tossing 100 million plastic water bottles into the trash every day as a nation, we are filling up our land. By the end of the year, we will throw away 2 million tons of plastic bottles. As more and more cities introduce recycling schemes, plastic recycling is on the decline. Last year we only recycled 23% of our plastic bottles.
Convenience in price
No matter how convenient bottled water is, we all need to understand the cost of that convenience. This cost is not only environmental but also financial. NRDC estimates that bottled water costs 240-10,000 times more than tap water.
As a nation, we need to end our love affair with bottled water. destroyed?
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