Sara-June Boullion, Environmental Columnist
Cities across the United States are confronting environmental activists’ concerns about reducing bottled water production. In 2008, cities gathered at the National Conference of Mayors to discuss the importance of using municipal (tap) water to discourage plastic bottle use. For example, Chicago was the first city in 2008 to impose a five-cent tax on plastic water bottles.
About twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the same source as tap water. Selling filtered tap water in plastic bottles makes consumers pay one-thousand to ten-thousand times more for their drinking water. Bottled water that is not collected from a stream is more likely to be filtered-tap water. Just keep an eye out for this information on the packaging labels.
Although there is a higher percentage of bottled water coming from a spring or other non-tap resources, be vigilant about where the water is coming from. Should we trust companies to take the utmost care with our drinking water and environment? Companies have a history of cutting corners and conducting their work in a way that helps them receive maximum profit. If getting maximum profit meant illegally obtaining water resources, using polluted water or completely depleting water resources, then consumers may want to be wary of the product.
Water is necessary for all life, so our generation has to do everything possible to protect it. Water resources are not infinite. How right is it to let several companies have complete control over large amounts of water resources? That is a lot of power in the hands of a few companies. Once water is removed from one area and put into plastic bottles, it will not be returned.
Our environment is littered with about 130 billion plastic water bottles. Every year, the United States uses about 17 million barrels of crude oil to produce 29 billion plastic bottles. Reducing the amount of them we use at SUNY Oneonta and elsewhere can help prevent pollution and the depletion of drinking-water resources. I have noticed that fewer plastic bottles are being thrown away. If we keep recycling and using re-usable bottles, we will make SUNY Oneonta a noteworthy sustainable college. After all, it is the small environmental actions that lead to big change.