Saturday, September 12, 2009

Still no bottled water for me!

My last post on bottled water had generated a lot of interest. This is a follow up post on the same subject. I got a bunch of interesting comments from my readers. For those who could not post their comment..I have fixed that.

Would like to share this video with all my blog readers :

Seen enough I guess?

I was scouting for options to carry water without using glass or plastic and we recently acquired this bottle from SIGG. The other bottle which we got was from Klean Kanteen. If you are in North America or Europe – these would be viable options for you. However these are good value for money. And there are others like EcoCanteen too.


kleen kanteen

Developing nations may still not have these options – I would expect people to put their heads together to come up options to make portable water bottles with copper, steel and glass(something like capped beer bottles?) – anything but plastic…and I would probably even look for light weight aluminum bottles.

I did find good portable steel flasks to carry water in India – even the old fashioned glass flasks are options – though these break very easily. Water kept in copper containers are supposed to be good for health – and I have seen them at my mom’s place and store water in one myself here in US. But these might not be good options in local travel as compared to the stainless steel bottle below. This makes me nostalgic of the times when we would carry water in earthen pots for long distance train travels.

216rPrFiCrL__SL500_AA150_ copper jug stainless steel

People in India please read the report by CSE on the occurrence of pesticide in bottled water. The only company that did not have any traces of pesticides was Evian – which is bottled in France – why the hell did they choose to transport it to India for sale…no market in France? What about GHG emissions associated with all their operations – never head is aching!

Why would people prefer bottle water even if they are aware that bottled water is the single largest marketing gimmick by private companies?

I had posted my post on the "Climate Change- I care" group in linked and it ended up being a lively discussion. I am reporting it say it went - their arguments in quotes and mine without.

From Netherlands Saskia wrote, “The water company in Southern Limburg Netherlands has great difficulty in getting tap water clean. Especially antibiotics and medicines are difficult. This is a problem in the US too.”

I understand that antibiotics and medicines are difficult to remove from water...strict regulations to ensure the safe disposal of these hazardous wastes - so that they do not enter the water cycle - must be put in place. US EPA is working towards that....I will highlight that in my next post. In fact if bottled water is many times tap water bottled - i would not be surprised tests show traces of antibiotics in them.

Marcio Rossa from London says, “In lots of countries bottled water is a means of survival and the tap water is undrinkable.”

Poor people in these countries many times do not have access to clean water at times and no means by bottles water is my response to the above argument. Bottled water is a luxury which many people cannot afford.

Marcio continues, “Bottle water is like wine or other drink. Different countries and different regions in the same country have different types of water due to chemical components in the rocks, etc.
I do have a preference for a certain type of water. A taste I prefer or a more adequate type of water, adjusted to my health. Saying that banning bottled water is the best... hum, would make me very sad. I think I would stop drinking water all together, so being obliged to buy juices, then get fat and with diabetes because they have about 40% sugar, etc.
And believe me, I would never drink water from the Victorian pipes of London... They are very old!... if bacteria survive in extreme basic and acid (ph) environments, don't tell me that the 'treated' waters of London (where I study) are safe. The river Thames looks very dirty to me!
In Portugal, where I'm from, bottled water is a big industry. It is collected where the spring is being less processed, transformed, or whatever we want to call it.
Of course I do care about the poor countries and the people that have no money to buy water. I do care a lot, but is not by stopping (what we call) developed countries having their water that they will be happier! we need to find solutions and maybe exporting (traded or not) bottled water might be the only solution. That we know is not.”

Bijoy Nair from Gulf writes
“But there is no other choice for people like me who are living in Arabian Gulf. We are paying more for water than gasoline!
We are not away from wars for which water is gonna be the cause :("

From Saskia again

“I am secretly happy to hear that you pay more for water than for gasoline. As gasoline is soooo cheap over there... The prices in the Netherlands with special taxes on gasoline are terrible... but good for reducing CO2 emissions.
Sunita, how do you propose strict regulation on keeping antibiotics an medicine out of the water? Its in feaces and urine... that's the problem. We can hardly forbid people to use their restroom/loos!? When the toilet is flushed it comes into the water cycle, also with closed sewer systems as we have throughout the Netherlands.”

My response to the above two :

I have mentioned that incase you have to drink water from reliable sources and which come under the category of bottled water - you could use 3 - 5 gallons refillable, reusable, recyclable bottles - which can be returned back to the water supplier in lieu of newly filled water containers.
I too am worried about the antibiotics and medicines in water - however treated STP water is many times not recycled back into the city water distribution system - let me know if I am wrong..
Rain water harvesting, storage and use - is a good area for homeowners to investigate.
Also one have to weigh what poses a greater health threat - BPA or traces of antibiotics in water.

I have lived in London for several years - totally agree - that the Thames is doubt...but it used to be dirtier believe me it was the sewage carrier for the city of it is much better.
The source of drinking water in London are the lakes - I have drunk tap water - filtered using Brita - and not fallen sick any time during my several years of stay in London.

Another interesting reason where we would need bottled water says David Gross ,“About the only reason I can think to have bottled water is for national disasters. When the power goes out so can the water/sewer. Having sat through hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in Florida in 2004, I can say that bottled water is useful to have around during an emergency. Filling up the bathtub is a good plan for occasionally flushing the toilet, but I would not want to drink that.”

We would definitely not want to add to the burden of disasters – water supplied by tankers and filled in containers by affected people is often practiced in countries like India in times of nature afflicted disasters. – But what works for some countries might not be true for other countries – we all tend to follow one rule in life diligently – we follow path of least resistance – we all do what is the easiest and most convenient for us!

For such events we could think of bottles made of Taterware and Novomer.

Novomer is a company that makes plastics from CO2. SO no oil, and it helps reduce CO2; sounds too good to be true.

Did you know that offering water in glass bottles is becoming a gourmet thing in restaurants! Its a shame…at present there is no single company that is offering water in a glass bottle – though beer a very popular drink is routinely sold in one.

Enough on bottled water I guess. As you can see there are two sides of a coin - but the environmental impact of plastic bottles far outweigh any other concerns. We have a long way to go! CIAO till the next post...will do more on water pollution and how you can be involved.


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