There's no question about it. We live in a thirsty world. Water scarcity is quickly becoming the issue of our time. Climate change is real and it's effecting farmers from California to Kenya. And already today, as many as 1 in 8 people don't have access to safe water to drink.
The environmental cost of the massive consumption of bottled water has led some U.S. and Canadian local governments to consider a ban its sale. While this seems an extreme response, the scientific concerns are well-founded, and the facts may surprise you.
Fact #1. Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become "litter." Source: ValleyWater.org
Fact #2. Recycling is only feasible in limited circumstances because only PET bottles can be recycled. All other bottles are discarded. Only 1 out of 5 bottles are sent to the recycle bin. Source: SunTimes
Fact #3. U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. Source: idswater.org
Fact #4. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. This amount of oil far exceeds the amount needed to power 100,000 for a year, which does not include fossil fuel and emissions costs of green house gases needed to transport the final product to market. Source: SunTimes
Fact #5. It is estimated that actually 3 liters of water is used to package 1 liter of bottled water. Source: ValleyWater.org
"In summary, the manufacture and transport of that one kilogram bottle of Fiji [brand] water consumed..."
"It is another product we do not need. Bottled water companies are wasting resources and exacerbating climate change. Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions,
and transporting water adds to that. We could help reduce these damaging effects if we all simply drank water straight from the tap."
- Dr. Michael Warhurst, Friends of the Earth's senior waste campaigner.
"In the United States, bottled water costs between $0.25 and $2 per bottle while tap water costs less than a penny. According to Bottledwaterblues.com, about 90% of manufacturer's costs is from making the bottle, label, and cap."
Environmental criticisms of bottled water at Wiki
Key environmental issues with bottled water, [says environmentalist David Suzuki] are waste and uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic.
"Buying bottled water is wrong, says Suzuki" - CBC Report
For an average of $34 per person, The Water Project is able to work with local partners to provide closer access to clean water. Our goal is to bring clean, sustainable water supplies to within a 1km (1/2 mile) of a village. By doing so, communities can be freed to begin working themselves out of poverty.
When you give to help build a well, you'll make sustainable agriculture possible. You will allow children to get back to school instead of collecting dirty water all day.
You'll help fathers find more time to care for their family, maintain a farm, and even run a small business.
You can help break the cycle of poverty in Africa.
How will you help?
When students are freed from gathering water, they return to class. With proper and safe latrines, girls stay in school through their teenage years.
Safe water, clean hands, healthy bodies. Time lost to sickness is reduced and people can get back to the work of lifting themselves out of poverty.
Access to water leads to food security. With less crop loss, hunger is reduced. Schools can feed students with gardens, reducing costs.
Access to water can break the cycle of poverty. The communities we serve are ready to grow. We can't wait to see how they choose to do it.