How could bottled water be bad???

Every time I purchase a bottle of water I feel like I did something good for myself.  After all, water is so much better for you than some of the alternative beverage choices!  However, I was recently shocked to learn that maybe that bottle of water isn’t as wonderful as I thought.

I just finished watching a documentary called Tapped, produced and directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey.  The film questions whether water is a basic human right or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce.  According to the film, much of the bottled water is drawn from municipal water sources (aka tap water), which gets filtered, bottled, and sold back at 1900X the cost of tap water.  They come into small towns in places such as Maine and Georgia and start pumping huge volumes of water, sometimes despite severe drought conditions.

The second issue the movie explores is that actual production of plastic bottles and the chemicals which they can contain.  Oil is made into plastic during the refining process.

Corpus Christi, TX oil refinery.

Some of the chemicals in the bottles have been shown to leach into the water, especially after the water is warmed, say while sitting in the trunk of your car.  The horrible chemicals in the plastic bottle themselves, including Bisphenol-A (BPA), have been linked to cancer, ADHD, reproductive issues and a whole lot of other nasty things by independent researchers.

Only about 20% of plastic bottles are recycled in the United States.  The bottles that are not recycled end up in landfills or in the ocean.

Plastic bottles inside a storm drain, taken during an annual site inspection.

Huge garbage patches filled with partially decomposed plastic have been found in both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.  Within these patches, one the size of Texas, the composition of the ocean is changing and plastic is becoming more prevalent than the plankton population.  We’ve written about these on this blog before.

As the Tapped movie website says “I had been naïve enough to think recycling alone was enough.  The only thing we can do is to stop putting plastic in the ocean.  Be more aware of the way things are packaged, say no to plastic bags, don’t buy Styrofoam cups, order less take out (or bring your own containers when you do), stop drinking bottled water, reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Bottles and other plastics found in vortex unit inside of a catch basin at a local shopping center.

Closer to home, we see the results of bottled water every day in our work at Stormwater Maintenance, LLC.

The volume of bottles we see, especially in underground structures, never ceases to amaze all of us.  And to think, everyone who drinks it thinks they are doing the right thing.

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This entry was posted in Other Interesting Stuff, Stormwater Management, Sustainable Development. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How could bottled water be bad???

  1. Ali says:

    Amazing material! I have already been hunting for something similar to this for a little bit now. Thank you!

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