LETTER: The case against plastic water bottles

From reader Sandra Hartline

June 5 is World Environment Day, a day the United Nations has designated for the protection and well being of the human environment. When it comes to the use of plastic water bottles, I would modify this somewhat by calling for the protection and well being of the entire planet.

Governments may use the growing reliance on bottled water as an excuse to avoid their responsibility to ensure we have access to safe drinking water. The federal government must address any existing concerns about drinking-water quality with enforceable standards designed to protect human health. But the use of plastic water bottles also negatively affects all life on earth, and here are some of the reasons why.

Plastic water bottles take at least 700 years to dissolve, and some indications are that it takes up to 1,000 years for every single bottle to decompose. As it decomposes, each bottle leaks harmful chemicals into our environment.

Some types contain chemicals that may leach into drinking water. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of the most commonly cited. Studies show that the toxins from decomposing plastic bottles can cause a variety of health issues, including reproductive problems and cancer.

The pollution from plastics affects our air, land, and water. The environmental impact is far reaching, causing a risk to marine life. Perhaps worst of all, many plastic water bottles end up in the oceans — about 10 per cent of all plastic produced, adding to the poisons consumed by animals and every creature up the food chain.

The best solution is to use reusable water bottles, which are eco-friendly. Fill up a stainless steel or glass bottle from the tap For those worried about chlorine in drinking water, put your water in a pitcher and let it stand overnight, allowing the chlorine to evaporate — or consider getting a carbon activated filter for your tap.

Sandra Hartline


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