The Planning and Works Committee of the Region of Waterloo, Ontario has taken the first steps towards going bottled water free.
The Committee voted unanimously on September 9, 2008, to recommend to council a motion that will see the end of single use bottled water sales in many public facilities.
Environmentalists have been arguing that bottled water causes significant environmental damage. The containers are designed for single use. Making plastic water bottles requires considerable energy and resources, including water and oil, and the manufacturing process releases harmful air emissions and greenhouse gases. Transporting the heavy bottles uses fuel and many discarded bottles also end up in landfills.
“A growing number of Canadians are recognizing the environmental impacts of bottled water and thinking twice before buying it,” said Mike Layton, Project Coordinator for Environmental Defence. “Not only does it destroy the environment, but it takes a toll on our wallets. People don’t need to buy expensive and unsustainable bottled water when there is an excellent source of clean water delivered directly to their kitchen sinks and water fountains.”
The cost of bottled water is often over 1,000 times more expensive than tap water, yet the cost to water bottlers who take the water in Ontario is insignificant. Many of the bottled water brands sell water from municipal water supplies or exhaust groundwater supplies at the expense of other users.
Municipal water supplies are rigorously tested for chemical and biological contaminants, while the frequency and testing results for bottled water are concealed and not publicly available.
The cities of London, Ontario, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Nelson, British Columbia have all passed similar resolutions and the City of Toronto will be discussing options for curbing bottled water use at public facilities and events later this fall. The Region of Waterloo motion will soon be presented to Regional Council for consideration.