On Tuesday, World Water Day, local groups are coming together to urge area residents to bypass the use of plastic water bottles.
“We’re asking people to sign a pledge to bypass plastic water bottles for at least a year, and to consider some really good alternatives,” says Sandra Hartline of KAIROS, an ecumenical organization that works for peace, environmental justice and human rights.
KAIROS will join the Council of Canadians, the Blewett Conservation Society and the Kootenay Blue Dot Group outside the Kootenay Coop store from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Participants will have the chance to win a reusable water bottle donated by the co-op.
“We are urging residents to take their reusable, non-plastic water bottles to town, to make use of local drinking fountains and work to purify their domestic drinking water,” Hartline says.
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, manufacturing bottled water is a factor in global warming and a depletion of energy resources. The plastic ends up in the oceans and enters the food chain as tiny bits of plastic which are eaten by animals and birds. More than a million birds and marine animals die every year from eating plastic waste, or by becoming entangled in plastics.
It is estimated that going without disposable bottles for just 30 days can save enough to purchase a reusable water bottle, and can save as much as $300 in a year, up to 500 times the amount spent on tap water.
As well, plastic bottles and commercial plastic water coolers may contain toxins such as Biosphenal A, linked to breast cancers and childhood development problems. These toxins leach out over time and further use. Plastics buried on land can take hundreds of years to break down, and even then it doesn’t completely biodegrade.
World Water Day, held annually since 1993, was created by the United Nations to place an international focus on water related issues and to inspire people everywhere to take action.