It is blustery today, typical late March weather for this part of the country. But we have had a few nice days already and so even today’s strong winds hold the promise of warmer days. With better weather comes more outdoor activities, which means more people walking around with water bottles in hand. In my neighborhood, close to walking paths and parks, unfortunately that also means more litter from plastic bottles and cans.
But trash is only one reason to be concerned about bottled water. I was reminded of others last week in an email from Noah Hall. Hall is an environmental attorney who has a blog called Great Lakes Law. Hall's emails are always relevant and timely – he doesn’t post on his website just to post.
Last week Hall announced that an article he had written was chosen as the lead story in the University of Denver’s Water Law Review. It is called “Protecting Freshwater Resources in the Era of Global Water Markets: Lessons Learned from Bottled Water
Quoting from the announcement -
The article covers a brief history of bottled water, the business of bottled water, and opposition to bottled water, along with a short summary of international trade law and federal food law as applied to the bottled water market. It then provides a detailed analysis of bottled water issues in the courts, legislatures, and politics – providing case studies of the good, the bad, and the ugly results of bottled water controversies. The article concludes with an analysis of two recent strategies for addressing bottled water – expansion of the public trust doctrine and taxing water bottlers, strategies with significant legal and political weaknesses.
Hall goes on to explain two reasons for opposing bottled water – one legal and environmental, the other social. To learn more you can read what Hall says on his website or in the article, but even if you don’t read it, I think you get the idea. If you want to pursue the topic even further you could also read Bottled and Sold by Peter H. Gleick. The subtitle of this book is The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water. I guess that tell you where the author stands on the issue right up front.
I encourage you to stop buying bottled water. If you need to carry water, buy a refillable bottle, or even better, encourage your parks to activate water fountains. It’s frustrating to see a water fountain (or what Wisconsin natives call bubblers*) and want to drink from it only to find that it doesn’t work, or that it’s gunked up with garbage. Yuk.
I have never understood the attraction of bottled water anyway. In most places, it doesn’t taste any better than tap water, and why pay for water. I realize that shows that I am not just concerned about water but also that I am frugal (a better word than cheap), but in this case it’s a good thing. Read Hall’s review if you don’t believe me.
* I told you why folks in Wisconsin call it a bubbler in a post about a year ago on Wisconsin Trivia