The town of Concord in Massachusetts looks likely to become the first American city to ban bottle watered, following a positive vote last week by residents to do so by next January in order to lessen the environmental impact of their community.
“All these discarded bottles are damaging our planet, causing clumps of garbage in the oceans that hurt fish, and are creating more pollution on our streets,” said 82 year old activist, Jean Hil, who has lead the campaign. “This is a great achievement to be the first in the country to do this. This is about addressing an injustice.”
While many concerned with the environment are praising the efforts of Concord, the ten billion dollar water industry is worried that other towns will follow suit. A legal challenge is already being threatened, with the bottled water manufacturers arguing that they should not be singled out from other industries that produce wasteful products and that people should not be discouraged to consume water.
Internationally, Concord follows the Australian town of Bundanoon who last July banned the sale of bottle water in an attempt to limit associated carbon emissions resulting from the bottling and transportation of bottled water. Residents agreed to replace all single-use bottles with reusable ones that could be filled up from any of the towns free water fountains.
While accessing clean drinking water is not always easy in many parts of the developing world, in developed countries like the USA and Australia tap water offers a more sustainable and possibly healthier option to bottled water. Moreover, as the Natural Resource Defense Council points out, more than 25 percent of bottled water comes straight from the tap anyway.
Find out more about the environmental impact of bottled water here, in The Story of Bottled Water video.