Images of bottled water
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Tapped” the movie is today’s Netflix pick. It covers the bottled water supply within the US and the takeover of fresh water supplies by private entities like Nestle®.

Nestle®, Coke®, and Pepsi®, are singled out in this film. All are taking ground water and selling it back to us  at 1900 times the cost of tap water.  More than gas, and yet when gas prices go up there’s a public outcry.

There is enough water for human need, but not for human greed.  -Mahatma Ghandi

When it comes to ground water, the law is he who has the biggest pump, gets to take the most water. Nestle harvests the water for free and sells it to consumers.  The extraction and packaging process costs them between 6 and 11 cents a bottle to produce.  None of that profits from the water gets back to the communities that  it’s taken from.  They benefit from the State of Maine, and others, who pay to keep the water clean but they contribute nothing.

During Level 4 droughts in the southeast, including Atlanta, when residents were asked to cut back, the corporations like Coca-Cola® were still allowed to take the municipal water and sell it. What did the Governor do?  He didn’t stop the companies, but he got people together to pray for rain.

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...
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The bottled water companies say they take a very small amount of water, but opponents say they’re taking it from a small area with a large impact. In testimony before the government, the big companies say beavers are causing the lower levels of water and not them taking it.  Pepsi® spokespeople go on to say that tap water will be relegated to baths and dishwashing in the future and imply that tap water isn’t healthy. And yet, Aquafina® and Dasani®, both Pepsi® products, are from “public water sources”, ie. municipal water sources, and is not treated in any way by the Pepsi® company before it’s bottled and sold.  The put that information only after being pressured by advocates.  They leave their mountain logo to imply that it’s from a source not as readily available.

Break the Bottled Water Habit Calculator – wonder how much money you could save a year by NOT buying bottled water?  Here’s a great online calculator – put in the number of bottles a year and you’ll see your savings.  You’ll also see the true impact that bottle has on the environment – the amount of oil and CO2 to produce the bottles as well as the additional water it takes to produce your water.

Discarded Bottled Water Container - Chicago, 2010

Image by djwaldow via Flickr

But their affect on the environment isn’t just in them taking the resources, it’s that the plastic bottles are being thrown by careless humans back into the water system and landfills. The impact of this trash is charged to communities who again, gain nothing from the companies.

pete recycling symbolStill not convinced that bottled water is unnecessary? Consider this. Most bottles are made from Polyethylene Terephthalate PETE.  PETE (or PET) is made from petroleum.  People living near these plants are dying at higher incidents of cancer than the normal population.  Many of these communities are built on oil waste fields. One such location is Corpus Christie, Texas.  Birth defects in Corpus Christie are 84% higher than other areas.  Chemical leaks from these PET plants also contaminate the ground water in the area.

reusable water bottle

Image by joebart via Flickr

There’s so much more information on the science of bottle watered and the bottles themselves. What’s distressing, is the studies showing these chemicals as “safe” were produced by the chemical companies.  John Kerry questioned how we are protecting citizens when we don’t look beyond these studies.  I have to agree.

Communities are banning together to try to take back the water rights. Their worry is that by allowing a corporation to have control, we lose the basic rights to water.  What can we do?  Sure, we could legislate it, but that would take years and tons of money would go to lawyers.  But, we can stop buying bottled water.  It’s that easy.  Filtered tap water, or plain tap water, is cheaper and just as “healthful”.

“Tapped” Trailer

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