For Earth Day...

Tip #1 on saving the world:

Stop buying bottled water.

First of all, there's the plastic bottles that the water comes in.  Don't let the idea that it's recyclable lull you into thinking it's environmentally friendly.  Only bottles labeled #1 and #2 have any chance of being recycled, and the production of new plastic still outpaces recycling several times over.  Most of it still ends up in landfills.  Not to mention the fact that both the production and recycling of plastic produces toxic fumes containg such carcinogens as benzine and vinyl chloride, which impact those living around the plants.

Secondly, there's the absurdity of paying for what in most cases is filtered tap water.  Aqua fina, put out by Pepsi and Dasani, put out by Coca-cola, are nothing more than filtered bottled tap water with pretty names on them, and a heck of a lot of marketing behind them.  Why pay beaucoup bucks for something that comes out of your own kitchen faucet?

But if one wanted to do something as absurd as pay money for tap water, that would be ok if it weren't for the fact that it's contributing to the privitization of water.  World wide, companies such as Pepsi and Coca-cola set up bottling plants in an area, draining the natural water resources and damaging the eco-systems, all while getting paid massive subsidies to do so.  In southern India, when a Coca-cola bottling plant opened, tapping into the underground aquifer and using up to 1 million litres of water a day, the local wells went dry.  Coke claimed it was a "coincidence" but "out of the goodness of their hearts" trucked in bottled water.  That's nice, except that it's destroyed the local farming industry and people who used to able to get their daily needs of water from wells are now dependent upon Coke. 

In the U.S. too, facing money issues, municipalities are increasingly privatizing their water systems.  Imagine being cut off from water because of the inability to pay.  As water is necessary for life, the right to water is a fundamental human right.

Stop buying bottled water.

If you are concerned about the safety of your tap water, and in some areas there is good reason to be, use a water filter. A quality filter can be bought for around $40 and will give you water at least as good as the water you get in bottles. You will save money in the long run. You will reduce the use of plastic. And most importantly, you will be resisting the privatization of water, which is making it into a commodity available only to those who can pay.

For more information:

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