Bottled Water Part 1: Basics and Campus happenings

This year, the bottled-water free campaign will continue. In this two-part blog entry we’ll discuss the issues of bottled water in general and on campus, and then go into the water fountain assessment later.

To quote Jon in an earlier blog post regarding bottled water:

“In one hundred years from now is it possible that historians will look back and think that we were crazy to try to commodity water and sell it at thousands of times the price of what it costs to get from your tap? Is it possible that we are draining precious aquifers for limited profit at the expense of future generations? And is it possible that in the future, wars may be fought over water instead of oil?”

Water is a huge issue. Some people don’t have enough water, some people don’t have clean water, some people have to travel many kilometers to find water, some people pay too much for water, and some people abuse water.

I’m not about to try to solve in one fell swoop all of these problems. But there are definitely a few fairly small actions that can improve this situation.

First of all, stop drinking bottled water. It’s not tested as much as municipal sources (where they exist of course) and it is up to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. Drinking bottled water encourages governments to decrease funding to municipal sources. Water bottles don’t get recycled, and are harmful to your health.

Second, conserve water. In some parts of the world there are strict limits on the amount of water per person. We can all do things like take shorter showers, use less water when doing the dishes, and have more efficient toilets. You can even turn your toilet tank into a sink to wash your hands pretty easily. Only downside is the water gets pretty cold.

Third, learn about water issues on campus. The SFUO has a campaign called “Right to Water” through their sustainability office. Both the SFUO and uOttawa sustainability have been working on creating more “Bottled Water Free Zones” on campus, and looking to a future with no bottled water sales on campus at all.

Also...keep posted for the upcoming Bottled Water Free Day on March 11th – more to come!

- sarah jayne

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