Home Banning bottled water at Concordia: a debate

Banning bottled water at Concordia: a debate

by admin September 26, 2010

Around 53 billion gallons of bottled water are consumed worldwide annually. It is up to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. Only 20 per cent of plastic water bottles are even recycled. Plastic can take thousands of years to degrade in a landfill.

On the other hand, our bodies are made up of 70 per cent water. It is recommended we drink eight cups of water daily. A person can go without food for about a month, but can only go a week without water.

Student lobbying group TAPthirst is calling for a Concordia where bottled water is not sold anywhere on campus, and that can come as soon as next semester. What do you think? Send your thoughts to the editor, at opinions@theconcordian.com

Boycott the bottle and enjoy tap water

By Kayla Morin

Everyone drinks water. Bottling it, especially here in Canada where tap water is of great quality, makes no sense. Concordia would do well not to associate itself with this nasty industry.

The entire concept of taking a subsidized resource that is a human need and repackaging and selling it is unethical. No one should have to pay for water and you should refuse to.

Bottled water is not cleaner or healthier than tap water; this is a myth. In fact, more than a quarter of bottled water is simply filtered tap water, and some brands contain more bacteria than a bathroom sink. What’s more, the (already adequate) quality of tap water will only get better as more people join the cause and call for improvements.

Also, think about the energy and resources depleted in the name of a bottle of water: to create a plastic bottle, fill it with water, seal it, slap a label on it, put it in a cardboard box wrapped in plastic inside another cardboard box, transport it in a big truck or boat or train (deep breath) all so you can drink it weeks later as a “healthful’ alternative to the free stuff in your kitchen? Yeah, really clever. When you buy a bottle of water you are supporting massive amounts of pollution so that a few suits can make a lot of money.

The bottled water industry accounts for about 2.5 per cent of the world’s oil consumption and uses approximately 2.7 million tonnes of plastic every year. Most of this recyclable waste ends up in landfills, sometimes infecting ground water sources. This is all completely unnecessary.

If you don’t care about the environment enough to change your harmful habits, then you should consider your personal health. Chemicals from the plastic used to make bottles of water can seep into what you drink, especially when you reuse it.

Concordia needs to do the right thing here and banning bottled water is the only smart option. Remove bottled water from campus and work on improving the school’s water fountain system. The health of the earth and students should be higher on the university’s priority list than making a few extra bucks. Do your part and boycott the bottle!

When it comes to portability and convenience, plastic is fantastic

By Benjamin Woodman

The banning of bottled water on any school campus is rooted with good intentions, but they are simply misguided.

Primarily, the issue raises questions of health concerns. No longer having bottled water for sale on campus means that one’s options for beverages at a vending machine or eatery are limited to cola, sports drinks or sugared “vitamin” water. All of these choices contain empty calories for the most part. Juice, while an excellent way to obtain a recommended serving of fruit, also contains more calories per serving than water and usually has added sugar.

My understanding is that juice is also not as readily available on campus as less-healthy alternatives. It may be on a small scale, but removing bottled water from campus will have an impact on student health.

Secondly, sometimes I want to be able to bring a bottle of water with me wherever I go, and have the convenience of being able to discard the bottle in one of the many recycling bins located around campus. A bottled water ban is going to limit one’s options. Carrying a reusable bottle doesn’t always match up with my day plan; if I want to grab a drink with friends somewhere after class I prefer to be encumbered by as few items as possible. Numerous water fountains are located all around campus, but as of now I am unable to bring them to class with me or carry them on the treadmill at Le Gym.

If a person feels very strongly about the environmental concerns of bottled water, I whole-heartedly encourage them to bring their own reusable bottle to campus. I have nothing but respect for people who feel strongly about their beliefs and act upon them. However, I hope that the anti-bottled water activists on campus realize that not everybody shares their sentiments. Forcing an entire student body to conform to the wishes of one interest group is an affront to personal choice, and as such the cause will not receive my support.