Ban Plastic Water Bottles

SOURCE: Kenneth Taylor ( SUBHEAD: Concord, Massachussetts, votes to ban sale of water in plastic bottles starting 1/1/11. Image above: A man buys plastic bottles of water in Concord, MA, in K-Mart store. Photo by Phil Valasquez. From original article. by Michelle Ruiz on 5 May 2010 in AOL News - ( Environmentalists have long frowned on bottled water, urging drinkers to go green by sticking to the tap or H20 filtered at home. Now one Massachusetts town has sparked a battle of the bottle with its decision to pull it from shelves altogether. Residents in Concord, in what seems to be a first for a U.S. town, voted last week to ban the sale of plastic water bottles in their small, affluent municipality effective Jan. 1. The decision has prompted celebration from environmental activists and objection from bottled water industry executives who don't want other cities and states to follow suit. The move is a victory for 82-year-old activist and Concord resident Jean Hill, who spearheaded the effort to ban the plastic bottles. She presented the Town Council with a slide show featuring photos of plastic polluting the ocean and mounting in garbage dumps. "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,'' Hill told the Boston Globe. "This is a great achievement to be the first in the country to do this. This is about addressing an injustice.'' Hill pointed out in her presentation that more than 100 municipalities across the U.S. have cracked down on bottled water. New York, Illinois and Virginia have cut spending on the product. Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Boston, Somerville and Cambridge have pledged to gradually reduce city spending on bottled water. Hill also decried the plastic-fueled garbage dump swirling in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hill's impassioned presentation swayed Town Council Chairman Stanly Black, who switched his initial vote against the ban. He told the Concord Journal that he was "so moved" by Hill's presentation that he voted in favor of the ban even though he agrees that the council doesn't have the authority to ban the sale of bottled water. "The statistics about the amount of trash are appalling," Black said. "There's an island bigger than Texas floating around in the Pacific." Black and Hill had the support of Concord resident Lal Minton, who wrote in a letter to the Concord Journal that bottled water has become a "scourge." "People older than 75 were obliged by their mothers to give up the bottle when they were babies," he wrote. "They have survived into their 80s." Concord apparently is the first U.S. municipality to approve a ban on bottled water, Nick Guroff, communications director for Corporate Accountability International, told the Journal. Selectwoman Virginia McIntyre told the Globe that she supports the ban in theory but has trouble backing it -- and its potential legal fallout -- in practice. "It's questionable whether Town Meeting even has the authority to ban the sale of plastic water bottles,'' she said. "We understand it's an emotional issue, and probably the right thing to do, but why should we spend scarce public resources on legal fees defending it? I doubt that's the best use of tax dollars.'' The International Bottled Water Association rallied against the ban in a statement that threatened a potential "legal challenge." It says the $10 billion industry promotes health by encouraging people to drink up. "Bottled water is a safe, healthy, convenient food product," the statement read. "With the current high rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, any actions that discourage or prevent consumers from drinking water -- whether tap or bottled -- are not in the public interest." The association also said that "any efforts to reduce the environmental impact of consumer packaging must focus comprehensively on all product containers and not single out any one product." Whether the ban will be more than a symbolic move in Concord remains to be seen. Those desperately seeking a sip of bottled water need only cross the Concord town line to buy the bottles at a neighboring Costco. For Hill, the vote remains a triumph. "I think it's a disgrace what's going on with these bottles,'' she told the Globe. "This is the starting of making a real change in Massachusetts.'' .


Anonymous said...

I think it is more important for Hawaii to ban plastic drinking bottles since we have nowhere to put the trash anymore with the landfill so full. I think the bottled water companies are right when they say we shouldn't pick on them but instead ban all plastic drink containers as well. I was shopping at Cost U Less recently and could not find one beverage container that was not plastic. When you look around at other products in stores especially the big box stores look to see how much plastic packaging there is. We are surrounded by it. If we only buy products without plastic it is an even stronger message than voting at the polls like they did in Massachussetts. Most people are unaware of the dangers of bottled water. Surfrider Fdn. has copies of a very good movie about bottled water they have been showing for free on Kauai. To fine out more about it go to their website.

Max said...

One answer would be to have biodegradable plastic bottles. Most plastic is not recycled and the plastic that is made in to something else that eventually ends up in a landfill. Biodegradable plastic bottles will biodegrade in a landfill.
"Bottles for a Healthier Earth"

Bryan said...

How about just eliminating all the bottles altogether... all these "consumer" products are a scourge on the land from resource harvesting and exploitation of the people in the countries they come from, transportation and manufacturing costs (monetary and environmental), health, pollution, even recycling requires transportation, energy input, reprocessing)


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Anonymous said...

I mean really are you people stupid, people all wine about global warming while they drink water bottles and spray hair spray

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Anonymous,

We prefer if you'd provide at least a pretend name. I guess stupid might include spelling "whine" without an "h". We don't use lastic water bottles or spray our hair.

Do you?

Juan Wilson
IB Punlisher

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