Sunday, January 18, 2009


Why do we buy water when the clean, pure liquid flows for free from our tap? That leads us to question - is that liquid coming from our tap, in fact, pure?

Our friend, Elizabeth Royte, studies that exact question. Just as she wrote Garbageland and followed each wastestream from her Brooklyn apartment to the landfills and recycling facilities where they ended up - she does the same with bottled water in Bottlemania. She starts in Maine at the Poland Spring bottling facility and adventures on to water tastings and water cleanup plants in serarch of the answer - is our water safe and why do we buy water, when we can get it from our tap for essentially, free.

In many cases, when a water source becomes contaiminated, it's cheaper to truck in bottled water than to clean the source. But is clean water a human right? If we don't protect our own tap water, it'll become contaminated and we'll all be forced to drink bottled water And don't forget about the environmental effects of the bottling waste, the transportation costs and carbon footprint of shipping all of those bottles across the country and overseas.

Sure, there are times when the convenience of bottled water has its place - when traveling or when far away from a clean water source. But if, for the most part, we all continue to drink tap, we'll continue to create a demand for it and will keep our water local.

If we don't protect our water, then what's next - canned oxygen?

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