Brittany Campbell

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BOTTLED WATER

I'm not sure if this entry is as much trivia as it is a bias opinion but there are facts in the next few paragraphs so take what you will.



Anyone who knows me personally has heard my rants about bottled water and how much it sucks. Taking Marine Biology and Oceanography in consecutive semesters can do that to you.  I will now take the next few paragraphs to briefly, and I mean briefly, explain why bottled water is bad.

First of all, most bottled water is from a regular tap, not springs or even filters. Now, if your water says "Spring Water" that means that they filled it up from a hose at the factory that is probably coming from Lake Michigan (True story. Nestle got in trouble for bottling and selling water that was owned by the government and it's tax payers). But if your water says "Filtered Water" you can be sure that the water was taken from a hose at the factory, filtered, and then resold to you at a 500% mark up. 

My next point involves those of you who think drinking bottled water is cleaner and healthier for you. I hate to burst your bubble but it's not. Bottled water companies get their water tested once a year. One bottle every year is tested. Most of those bottles fail the tests. The water that comes from your tap is checked multiple times daily, depending on the population that relies on a water source. For example, Chicago's water is checked 400 times a day. The only concern I can understand people having is the pipes that may be rusting in their 100+ year old apartment. That's what filters like Brita and Bobble are for.

But the reason I hate bottled water the most is because of it's plastic. Sometime in the 1950's people started living a disposable lifestyle. Never before could people serve dinner on paper plates and then throw the dishes away eliminating the need to clean the dishes. But now Mom didn't have to slave over dinner and then slave over clean up. Unfortunately this convenience has turned our society into a throw away society. We not only throw our dishes away but our clothes, electronics, and now plastic water bottles. I have a friend who goes through 3 plastic water bottles a day. THREE! If everyone on Earth went through 3 water bottles a day we would have a problem. The only justification for this behavior is "Oh I recycle it." Yeah, I bet you do but think of all those other people out there who don't. You can't tell me that every bottled water user recycles their plastic. 

You want to know how I know? There's a little thing called the North Pacific Garbage Patch located in the Pacific Ocean. This is a patch of garbage that is twice the size of Texas. Most of this garbage is plastic. This is such a big deal because it takes plastic 450 years to biodegrade. This is also having negative effects on wild life. Sea creatures eat this plastic thinking it is food. They eventually starve to death because plastic has no nutritional value. Plastic also has a chemical called Bisphenol A, also known as BPA. When plastic is heated, it releases this chemical. There have been high numbers of this chemical found in the water located in the garbage patch. This chemical is making the water that animals and humans rely on toxic.

Not only does this chemical become released when the plastic is heated, it also becomes released while the plastic is being made. A factory in Corpus Christi, Texas exclusively makes bottles for bottled water companies. The subdivision near the plant has an alarming number of cancer victims. These cases are all similar and thought to be set on by the release of chemicals into the nearby air and water.

My last and final thought about bottled water focuses on a company called Figi Water. Now, I want you to know that I have had this water and yes, it tastes great, BUT before you go forking over $3 a bottle I want you to know how devastating this company is to Figi.

Figi Water is a company based out of California. When Figi Water discovered the great tasting water from a natural spring on the island of Figi, the company knew they could bottle and sell it in America. So Figi drew up a contract to buy the spring from Figi and started selling the water 5,400 miles away.

Not that big of a deal, right? WRONG. Figi Water bought exclusive rights to this spring meaning the people of Figi can not use their own water. Many people on the island of Figi don't have access to clean water because this American company went in offering a seemingly large amount of money in exchange for the exclusive rights to this spring. I'll let you be the judge on moral business practice but let me leave you with one parting thought. Many years from now, people are going to look back and think we were silly for taking clean water from a country and bottling and shipping it thousands of miles away to a country that already has their own clean water coming straight from the taps in their drinking fountains, kitchens and bathrooms. 

I'm sorry to stand on my hippie soap box but it's a subject I feel passionately about. I use "disposable" plastic water bottles when I have to but try not to. When I do, I recycle them. This is my challenge to you. Now lets go hug some trees ;)