Against Bottled Water Essay

Pages: 7 (1906 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Bottled Water

Safe? Environmentally Friendly? Well-Regulated?

The questions in the title above expose an issue about something of a craze in the United States in the past few years: bottled water. It seems that everybody carries around a bottle, and instead of jugs of tap water in meetings, as previously offered, these ever present friends are, well, ever present in such situations. While there are benefits to having water at all times, and especially in such a compact way as a bottle, and while it is very important to drink water and stay hydrated, many have started to question the actual process of bottling, as well as if this process if environmentally safe, and consumer safe. In other words, as ads continue to increasingly put pressure on buying water in different varieties (i.e. with electrolytes, extra purified, etc.), there are more and more voices contributing to the other camp, one that states that perhaps bottled water is harming both us, and our environment. In order to better understand this debate, this paper will analyze the above arguments and present an opinion well funded on research and research-based articles.

The Problem

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In order to properly solve this problem of bottled water and whether it is safe, one must first examine whether it is, in fact, beyond a doubt, a problem, and which side of the debate is right. Thus, this section will further expand on why, and how the bottled water situation is a problem. First, it is important to ask whether bottled water is truly "better" for us, or whether it is just a very witty, effective marketing campaign that has been just as much a trend as the latest genre of music, or cropped t-shirts. An independent website, for instance states that a large portion of the world seeks safe, clean drinking water desperately, yet the United States and other Western countries spend billions of dollars on bottled water and on marketing campaigns for bottled water, when this money could, in fact, go to help these people in need.

Essay on Against Bottled Water Assignment

Furthermore, in spending so much money on bottled water (when perfectly clean tap water is always readily available to us in this country), the U.S. also fills landfills with "billions of pounds of oil-based plastics that take 1000's of years to degrade."

Some further statistics given by the same website is pricing and utilization of bottled water, shown in pictures, and which pose stark facts in the face of non-believers. For instance, tap water costs approximately $0.0015/gal according to this website, whereas bottled water can go up to $10.00/gal, thus leading bottled water to be 10,000 times more expensive than tap water.

It is also mentioned here that American consume millions of gallons of bottled water which, in turn, generate millions of dollars. Yet what is dangerous is the fact that 22% of tested bottled water brands contained chemicals above approved legal chemical levels, leading one to question whether it is truly safe to drink bottled water.

Thus, one can look at tap water and see that it is much more regulated and much better protected against chemicals, whereas bottled water still has a long way to go in terms of regulations. The problem thus becomes that not only is bottled water poorly regulated and environmentally unsafe, but it can also be dangerous.

For instance, another study proposed examining which bottling water companies are safe and which are not, if any. This study, conducted by the Environmental Working Group, sought to find whether companies do thoroughly follow regulations in terms of labeling bottled water properly. The Group analyzed 173 bottled water products and company websites, in order to determine "if companies disclose information on where water comes from, how or if their water is treated, and whether the results of purity testing are revealed."

Then, it looked at how efficient treatment methods truly were for each company and called up dozens of bottling companies to see whether they speak to customers and properly answer their inquiries.

The findings of the study were that more than half of the bottled water products that the Group examine did not pass a transparency test. Eighteen percent did not say where water comes from and 32% did not disclose any information related to how that company purifies water.

The only brands that achieved high marks were: Gerber Pure Purified Water, Nestle Pure Purified Water and Penta Ultra-Purified Water, according to this study. The worst marks were awarded to: Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral Water, Vintage Natural Spring Water, Sahara Premium Drinking Water, O Water Sport Electrolyte Enhanced Purified Drinking Water, Market Basket Natural Spring Water, and Cumby's Spring Water.

The study then provided a comparison chart (below):

"1. Pure Life Purified Water (Nestle), EWG grade = B

2. Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = C

3. Aquafina Purified Drinking Water (Pepsi), EWG grade = D

4. Dasani Purified Water (Coca-Cola), EWG grade = D

5. Deer Park Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

6. Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

7. Ozarka Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

8. Poland Spring Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

9. Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

10. Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water (CG Roxane), EWG grade = F."

The Solution:

A Plan for Action, How it Can be Implemented and by Whom

Having insofar analyzed the problem of bottled water from three fronts, the solution ought to now be clear: bottled water should be banned, especially because of its harm to us and to the environment in which we live and which we ought to protect. There are numerous advocates who support this solution. For instance, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, and operator of lodging and seller of merchandise in Death Valley, makes tens of millions of dollars in sales. Some of that money comes from selling water in plastic bottles. However, Xanterra, in an unlikely decision, wants to give up water in plastic bottles, even if it means a decrease in sales. Chris Lane, the company's VP of Environmental Affairs, explains:

"This is a big issue for us, and we are trying to proactively address it [...] We would like to see the ban of all petroleum-derived plastic water bottles in national parks […] We're of the mind that the clock is ticking on petroleum-derived plastic. There should be a biodegradable alternative. It's bad for the earth, it's bad for the oceans, its bad for ecosystems. This is a lose-lose proposition."

And Chris Lane is right. More and more people are waking up to the realities of the dangers of bottled water and are aiming to propose the above solution or, at least, a plan for action and how it could be implemented or who could implement it. In this case, the solution was a ban, and the plan was simply to ban water bottles as quickly as possible, and all senior executives were involved. In this way, Xanterra achieved a swift and evenhanded decision, as well as the results it had called for.

There are many other advocates for solutions and plans of implementations, and they do not always involve detailed steps or the involvement of senior management. Some simply involve customer awareness. Elizabeth Royte writes in her article of the need for awareness of diseases such as gastrointestinal problems, that all come from inefficiently regulated bottled water companies. Royte even goes so far as to provide her own evaluation of her own health after drinking bottled and tap water. She goes through a process in which she mails confidential documents to a center than can then determine whether she has any poisonous chemicals in her body. Having been an avid water drinker (tap, that is), Royte only experiences a problem with her manganese level.

Other experts yet provide the health angle and stress this obvious angle in their articles by stating that numerous studies have been conducted on the safety of tap water, and this should be the water of choice. In this respect, an article from Natural Life magazine states:

"A study conducted in 2001 for The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) confirmed the widespread belief that consumers associate bottled water with social status and healthy living. However, that association is largely a result of good marketing by the bottled water companies (which include Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others.) The global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57% from the 98 billion liters consumed five years earlier. But there is little evidence that -- except in cases of disasters that create tainted water emergencies -- bottled water is safer than tap water."

Such opinions are confirmed in this article by sound data, that only further proves that bottled water is not as safe as once thought, and everything begins to shift towards a ban of this, and not just in the United States. A last article to be… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/against-bottled-water/7984824.