LETTER: March 22 is World Water Day
In the battle to get rid of plastic water bottles in Nelson, it is heartening to find that many of the groups and businesses that sell plastic water bottles also have water stations where customers and the public can fill up their metal or glass water bottles from home, or, less desirable, fill up reusable plastic jugs on an ongoing basis for home or business use.
The risks are there: plastic bottles and commercial plastic water jugs may contain toxins such as Biosphenal A,linked to breast cancers and childhood development problems. These toxins leach out over time and further use.
One of the main culprits in the plastic water bottle business is Nestle, which continues to draw water from a well in Hope, B.C. Such permits, based on a “first in time, first in right” (FITFIR) system, mean that water permits can continue indefinitely.
However, Nestle isn’t the only company putting local watersheds at risk. Agriculture Canada reports that 83 percent of Canada’s bottled water exports come from British Columbia.
Globally, only 14 percent of plastics are collected for recycling; according to the World Economic Forum. Forty percent end up in landfills, and thirty-two percent leak into the environment, including the coastal waters here inBC. The prediction is that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, assuming fish stocks remain constant.
There are routinely more than 100 drinking water advisories in indigenous communities in Canada, where plastic bottled water is often used as an unsustainable, long term solution. The federal government needs to end such drinking water advisories and uphold the human right to water.
There’s no reason to believe that bottled water is any safer than tap water, particularly in Nelson, where tap water is treated. Those who don’t care for the taste of chlorine can get a carbon activated filter, or fill a glass jug of tap water and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The result? Great tasting water, perfect for filling a reusable glass bottle or a reusable steel canteen.
On March 22, World Water Day, I urge citizens to give up their plastic water bottle habit and work for a more sustainable alternative.