Photo by Shutterstock
Bottled water is undeniably bad for the environment and for human health thanks to chemicals that leach out of those shimmery plastic containers. Now, at least one U.S. city is a step closer to banning the monstrosity that is bottled water, once and for all. The SF Gate reports that this week, the Board of Supervisors approved a measure that would ban the sale of bottled water at events held on San Francisco city property. This ordinance, approved unanimously, is a huge deal and will essentially completely ban any sales of single-use bottled drinking water (21 ounces or less) on San Francisco city property. If passed, the ordinance will kick off on October 1st for indoor events and in 2016 for outdoor events. Apparently, the ban will have some exemptions, including footraces and other athletic events, and officials are giving food trucks and larger nonprofits, such as the annual Gay Pride Parade, until 2018 to comply. Other ordinance specifics include waivers that some groups may apply for (in order to still serve bottled water) and the city would like to further increase the number of water refilling stations in public spaces. This isn’t law yet, but if it’s approved by the board once more, the potential ordinance will be sent to Mayor Ed Lee for consideration.
Photo by Shutterstock
Supervisor David Chiu, who authored the legislation, said, “We all know with climate change, and the importance of combating climate change, San Francisco has been leading the way to fight for our environment. That’s why I ask you to support this ordinance to reduce and discourage single-use, single-serving plastic water bottles in San Francisco.” As Chiu also points out, the bottled water industry pulls in $60 billion a year, creating untold waste. Just how bad is the bottled water industry? Extremely bad! Reusit points out the following:
- 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were thrown away in one year (2008).
- Tap water in most places in America is cleaner, cheaper and healthier than store-bought water.
- 60 billion single-use drink containers were purchased in 2006, and 3 out of 4 were thrown out directly after use.
- Plastic bottles are among the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches.
- Every square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it. (UN, 2006)
- Ten percent of the plastic produced every year worldwide winds up in the ocean. 70% of which finds its way to the ocean floor, where it will likely never degrade.
- The extremely slow decomposition rate of plastic bottles leaves them to drift on the ocean for untold years.
- When plastics break down, they don’t simply vanish, they break into small pieces of plastic which then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion.
Plastic bottles are also packed with chemicals that aren’t healthy for humans, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PCBs. Is it realistic to ban bottled water? Yup – it really is. Chiu makes an excellent point, noting to the SF Gate, “I want to remind people that not long ago, our world was not addicted to plastic water bottles. Before (the 1990s), for centuries, everybody managed to stay hydrated.” Nowadays you have a slew of wonderful reusable water bottles to choose from that won’t create the massive waste of plastic. Check out some more info and choices below: